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 Damien Mason from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Damien Mason

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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Damien Mason

If you are really interested in people and have good interpersonal skills, you will find this job very rewarding.

Like a lot of jobs, you will not be using all the theoretical knowledge you gained in University or College, but you will develop significant management potential and the environment is stimulating and rewarding.

As an engineer, you will probably spend about 50% of your time in the office, and the other 50% out in the plant.

You should also expect that you may be asked if you are willing to travel abroad. This would be very attractive to most people, and a definite means to gain great experience, but it may not suit everyone.

You should ideally be a balanced person, someone with a good deal of technical knowledge, but also a good ability to deal with people.

Responsibility and challenges will be given to you from day one, and if you can handle the pressure, you will gain more and more responsibilities, ultimately leading you to gain invaluable experience, and undoubtedly onto a successful management position.

With the global nature of ICL's parent company CRH, this could be yours in Ireland or one of many countries worldwide.

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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Apprenticeships

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Polymer Processing Technologist
In Summary header image

Polymer Processing Technologist

This new Polymer Processing Technologist apprenticeship is aligned with the needs of the Irish plastics industry. The first apprentices will start in May 2017.

The Polymer Processing Technologist will be responsible for the efficient set up and operation of polymer processing lines in the fields of injection moulding, blow moulding or extrusion for the production of plastic components relevant to industry standards.

The polymer processing apprenticeship programme has been developed by Plastics Ireland (a business association within Ibec) along with Athlone Institute of Technology (coordinating provider), Institute of Technology Sligo and representatives from the plastics industry.


Training header image

This is a three year apprenticeship programme with an approved employer. 70% of the time is spent on the job and the remaining 30% is spent in the allocated Institute of Technology.



Award: A Bachelor of Science in Polymer Processing Technology.


Personal Qualities header image

An interest in working and learning in the MedTech, plastics and engineering sectors.


Work Activities header image

The main skills in this role are:

  • Plastics processing; moulding characteristics; engineering principles; reading of engineering drawings; thorough understanding of polymer materials and processing.
Polymer processing activities include:
  • Injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion.
  • Polymer processing equipment includes materials handling equipment, injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion equipment, tooling, robotics, metrology equipment, printing, post processing/packaging automation, clean room equipment, 3D printing/additive manufacturing and labelling equipment.
Working with Plastics processing equipment including various systems:
  • Electrical, electro-mechanical, electro-pneumatic, electronic, temperature and pressure control systems, hydraulic, and microprocessor based systems.
In order to function effectively and efficiently, the polymer processing technician must have a broad base of technical knowledge and analytical skills to cover material science, polymer processing and statistical processing control.

Also important is the ability to read technical drawings and machine data and the understand the proper use of test instruments.


Pay & Fees header image

Apprenticeships are paid employment allowing the apprentice to “earn while they learn”.


Entry Requirements header image

  • Leaving Certificate (or equivalent)
  • Grade 06 at ordinary level in 5 subjects, 2 of which must be Maths and a language (English or Irish).


Getting an Apprenticeship header image

Who should get involved?

  • School leavers (leaving certificate)
  • Existing Production Operators and Technicians who want to train or retrain in the Plastics and Polymer processing sectors and progress along NFQ to level 7.
The first apprentices will start in May 2017. It is anticipated that both individual companies and Plastics Ireland will advertise through their websites. 


Career Opportunities header image

  • Ireland is now one of the largest exporters of polymer products in Europe, with annual exports of 1.7 billion euro to over 100 countries worldwide.
  • Each year the Irish polymer industry pays out 266 million euro in wages.
  • The Irish polymer industry is well established and offers a broad range of career opportunities.


Occupation Profile header image


Progression Routes header image


Occupation Data

Polymer Engineer

Industry Expert(s)