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 Elaine Steiro from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elaine Steiro



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Elaine Steiro

If you are considering starting in the food/ catering or hospitality sectors, you should consider whether you like working shift work and you should like working in a pressured environment .

It is a very fulfilling and rewarding sector to work in though and every day is different with new skills being added to your skillset all of the time . If you are considering moving into the management side of things, then you should be able to co ordinate tasks and people to achieve results and you should like an ever changing work environment.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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ICT Network Engineer
In Summary header image

ICT Network Engineer

Provider: FIT

This is a 2-year Level 6 Apprenticeship for the ICT Sector. The primary role of a Network Engineer is to design, install, maintain and support communication networks within an organisation or between organisations.

Network engineers need to maintain high levels of operation of communication networks in order to provide maximum performance and availability for their users, such as staff, clients, customers and suppliers.

They understand and work in areas such as network configuration, cloud, network administration, security and performance management, and are able to give technical advice and guidance.

Candidates earn the title of FIT ICT Associate Professional, which is recognised by the industry as effectively demonstrating the application of skill in the work environment.

This is an NFQ Level 6 apprenticeship. It is anticipated that 100 places will be available each year.

Training header image

The ICT Associate Professional is “learning by doing” format of ICT skills development.

It is a two-year programme during which candidates who are competent tech enthusiasts attain a Level 6 ICT and Professional Development Award.

On effectively demonstrating the application of skills in the working environment, candidates achieve the title of FIT ICT Associate Professional by the industry.

The first six months are college based where candidates will acquire the technical skills.
The remaining 18 months are a combination of workplace application and college based learning where candidates will further their training and apply their skills and learning to live projects and tasks within their sponsoring company.

On successful completion, the ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer will:
  • Understand and have the ability to apply the principles of networking, protocols and associated technologies (specifically this should include the latest published versions of OSI layer model, IP, TCP/IP, routing and switching, WANs, LANs)
  • Understand the causes and consequences of system failure including load balance and storage protocols and responds appropriately
  • Understand the architecture of a typical business IT system, including hardware, OS, server, virtualisation, middleware and applications
  • Understand and respond to security threats, firewalls and vulnerabilities
  • Understand the importance of service level agreements, standards and/or agreed response times and operates within these parameters
  • Understand and operate effectively in the business environment and respond to business issues related to network engineering
  • Understand and apply the applied maths required to be a network engineer (e.g. algorithms, number systems, IT-related units of measurement, probability and statistics)
  • Designs simple networks from a well-defined specification and apply appropriate security products and processes
  • Install and configure network components, including switches, routers and firewalls
  • Can optimise the performance of network systems and services
  • Can monitor, test and adjust network systems and performance to meet accepted standards using diagnostic tools, analysers and other equipment
  • Applies diagnostic tools and techniques to identify the causes of network performance issues
  • Can apply structured approaches to troubleshooting network issues and repair faults in hardware, software products and the network
  • Undertakes system upgrades to network hardware, software and operating systems
  • Integrates network related software into an existing network environment
  • Can interpret written requirements and technical specifications for network activities and maintain accurate records of network maintenance activities
  • Logs and responds to network service calls and provides technical network support to end users as required
  • Documents work done in accordance with agreed procedures

Personal Qualities header image

Energetic tech enthusiasts with a determination to work in the ICT sector.

  • Logical thinking and creative approach to problem-solving
  • Maintains a productive, professional and safe work environment
  • Communicates effectively in a variety of situations
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Progresses allocated tasks in accordance with reporting and quality systems
  • Applies strong interpersonal skills when dealing with colleagues, customers and clients
  • Flexible attitude
  • Ability to work independently and to take responsibility
  • A thorough approach to work
  • Passion for IT Network communication systems, hardware and cloud based systems are widely used across many sectors and potentially all sectors in a modern economy. 

Work Activities header image

An ICT Associate Professional works for their employer while learning the skills they need to become a valuable team member. 

The FIT ICT Associate Professional programme offers technical education and training grounded in practical experience, ensuring that participants are ready for work on completion. The FIT ICT Associate Professional Programme will:

  • Develop in-demand tech skills
  • Provide hands-on learning to attain the skills demanded by industry.
  • Provide an opportunity to earn and learn
  • A national qualification over a two year period equipping participants with the knowledge and capabilities to progress in ICT careers
  • Lead to internationally recognised qualifications.
  • Provide the opportunity to apply theoretical education and training in a real work setting helping you to build confidence in your abilities and gain independence.
A FIT ICT Associate Professional spends much of their time training with a company, helping them to effectively learn the skills needed in the work place using modern technology and equipment and getting involved in real-life work processes.

Pay & Fees header image

For this ICT Associate Professional Network Engineering apprenticeship, the employer pays the apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship. The rate of pay is agreed between the employer and the apprentice.

Entry Requirements header image


Generally 18 – 25 years but can be any age.


Minimum of Leaving Cert or equivalent – all candidates have to satisfy Aptitudes Assessments administered by FIT.

Candidates will be screened by FIT.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

FIT ICT Associate Professional participants are matched with a Sponsor Company within the ICT Industry who values their talent.

Companies such as Accenture, AOL, AQMetrics, Cork Internet Exchange, Fujitsu, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Stanley Security and Version 1, have embraced this initiative, viewing it as a practical pathway to acquiring in–demand tech skills.

On completion of the programme and having attained the FIT ICTAP Award, it is envisaged that candidates will take up full-time positions with the sponsoring company.

To find out more: e-mail or by phone on 01 8825570.

Career Opportunities header image

Most ICT Associate Network Engineers will work in sectors which use computer network systems to support their activity. Others will work in the ICT sector industries who research, develop, design, manufacture, sell, install and maintain computer network systems and services.

On completion of the programme and having attained the FIT ICTAP Award, it is envisaged that candidates will take up full-time positions with the sponsoring company.

Companies such as Accenture, AOL, AQMetrics, Cork Internet Exchange, Fujitsu, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Stanley Security and Version 1, have embraced this initiative, viewing it as a practical pathway to acquiring in–demand tech skills.

The ICTAP programme is being rolled out in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Athlone and Monaghan. FIT are actively engaging with employers to participate in the programme.

To find out more: e-mail or by phone on 01 8825570.

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

Occupation Data

Network Engineer

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