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 Liam Dowling from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

Liam Dowling

Clinical Nurse Manager 2

St. Michael's House

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Liam Dowling

Do your homework, ask about it - there is lots of infomation out there.  You need to be person centred, social, not afraid to mix and to have an understanding of disability or at least be prepared to learn about it. 

People with an Intellectual Disability  ARE NOT SICK , but they can get sick like everyone else and sometimes I feel people outside don't fully understand this. They don't just need Gods help. They need the help of qualified people that want to understand them so that their needs are met and they have chance to enjoy their life as much as is possible.

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Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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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

Information to follow...


Progression Routes header image

Information to follow...


Occupation Data

Polymer Engineer

Industry Expert(s)