Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brenda O Loughlin from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:

Brenda O Loughlin



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Brenda O Loughlin
I guess I would tell anyone considering this job that they need to be able to multi task, have good people and communication skills and be prepared to work hard.

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Manufacturing Engineer
In Summary header image

Manufacturing Engineer

A Manufacturing Engineer facilitates efficient operations within the production area, to optimise existing processes, implement new processes and to ensure that production goals are met. 

This is an NFQ Level 7 apprenticeship - Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing (Apprenticeship). It is anticipated that 40 places will be available each year.

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), the Ibec group that represents the medtech sector, received approval for this new, now fully established apprenticeship.

Training header image

The Manufacturing Engineer Apprenticeship is a 3-year programme for a QQI Level 7 Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing (Apprenticeship) qualification awarded by the HEA.

Apprentice training will include on-site and off-site phases each year. 

Phase Block Release

15 week block per year in one of the participating Institutes of Technology.

Programme Overview

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Personal Qualities header image

An interest in working and learning in the MedTech and Engineering Sector is the basic requirement.


Core knowledge listed:
• Statistical Process control
• Design For Manufacture
• Machine Design
• Quality Management
• Quality management systems within a regulated environment (GMP)
• Raw materials, production processes, costs, and other techniques for maximising the effective manufacture of Medical Device Products
• Root Cause Analysis, Problem Solving, Implementing corrective and preventive Actions
• Continuous Improvement in Quality and Manufacturing (Lean Six Sigma)
• Mechanics and Properties of Materials
• Mechanics and Dynamics of Machines
• Industrial Automation
• Engineering Science
• Electrical Science
• Mechanical Drawing Interpretation
• Project management
• Cleanroom operations
• Metrology


Specialist Skills:
• Develop solutions to a variety of problems of moderate scope and complexity using basic engineering principles, theories and concepts
• Six Sigma Principles to drive data driven process improvement projects
• Principles and methodologies of project management and quality management to their specialist discipline
• Lead and communicate with employees to determine and deliver specific project goals and objectives
• Processes and tooling used in relation to polymer processing, in particular injection moulding and extrusion
• Essentials of spreadsheet and database technologies in order to design an effective event-based software application to address basic engineering and production requirements
• Process Planning (PP),Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) and capacity planning
• Electrical, electronic and mechanical sensors signal-conditioning and digital interfacing in engineering systems
• Advanced manufacturing processes through the innovative application of technologies, processes and methods to product design and production
• Kaizen improvement philosophy and methodology for process and systems improvement
• Comply with the appropriate industry regulatory framework

Soft Skills:
• Work Autonomously
• Work as part of a team and to lead a team through a technical project where necessary
• Good time management skills
• Deliver projects on time, within budget while meeting business expectations • Engage in creative problem solving and work as an effective group member • Appraise appropriate and available information sources applicable to particular contexts
• Ability in academic writing and referencing sources of information
• Basic principles of critical thinking / problem solving and communication skills


Core competences and behaviours listed: eg: Honesty and integrity, Initiative, Personal commitment
• Ethics
• Communications
• Adaptability
• Teamwork
• Ability to work independently
• Decision making
• Problem solving
• Critical thinking
• Project management
• Report Writing
• Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness
• The ability for Continuous Professional Development

Work Activities header image

A Manufacturing Engineer facilitates efficient operations within the production area, to optimise existing processes, implement new processes and to ensure that production goals are met.

  • Monitors performance of equipment, machines and tools and corrects equipment problems or process parameters that produce nonconforming products, low yields or product quality issues, all within a highly regulated and complex manufacturing environment.
  • Analyses and solves problems from basic engineering principles, theories and initiates technical activities leading to new or improved products or process to meet strategic goals and objectives of the company.
  • Applies project management methodologies and Kaizen improvement philosophy to manage production/product design and process and systems improvement respectively.

Pay & Fees header image

  • The employer pays the apprentices salary for both on and off the job phases. The salary rate set by the individual company.
  • The college training element  is Government funded.
  • Annual apprentice registration fee of €1,500 will apply.

Being accepted on this proposed Apprenticeship will require a job seeker to first secure an “Apprenticeship Contract” with an approved organisation / employer.

As details of approved organisations become available, they will be included here.

Each approved organisation will determine the particular salary structure for the apprenticeship, which will be communicated at contract negotiation stage with the proposed candidate. 

There will be no difference in rate-of-pay between the time an apprentice spends on-the-job and time in training.

Entry Requirements header image

The Manufacturing Engineer Apprenticeship is open to School leavers, production operators and technicians who want to train or retrain in the manufacturing sector and progress along the NFQ to level 7 with any one of the 450+ Medtech companies currently established in Ireland.

Educational Requirements

  • Leaving Certificate (or equivalent)
  • Grade 06 at ordinary level in 5 subjects, two of which must be Maths and a language (English or Irish).


Getting an Apprenticeship header image

The Manufacturing Engineer Apprenticeship commenced as of June 2017.

It is anticipated that both individual companies in the MedTech sector and the consortium will advertise through their websites.

Career Opportunities header image

There are many opportunities across the Medical Devices sector  in Plastics and Engineering companies for Manufacturing Engineers.

IMDA Director Sinead Keogh said: “Employment in manufacturing will be 6,000 higher this year compared to last. But, skill shortages are emerging and need to be urgently addressed. These new apprenticeships will give people new job opportunities and help drive regional growth. Manufacturing is an integral part of the Irish economy and is the second largest employer with 4,000 businesses, both home-grown and international, employing nearly 160,000 people. ”

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

Occupation Data

Manufacturing Engineer

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