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 Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

Read more

  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.


The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Featured Article

logo imagelogo image
Return to List

A Day in the life of a Podiatrist

"What I like most about the job is the biomechanics of how the body moves. I love working out why an Achilles heel is under stress or why a patient’s hip is giving them trouble."

Lorcan O'Donaille is a podiatrist who runs the Achilles Clinic in Cork.  

A Typical Day 

A typical day, starting at 8am, is a combination of chiropody – dealing with corns, calluses and ingrown toenails – and podiatry, working on bio-mechanical issues. A lot of the work is psychological. You’re trying to reassure people and help them. So I never look at just the foot: I treat the person as a whole.

People come in and bare themselves to you. They can be quite vulnerable. Reassurance is a big thing. I see a lot of people with chronic pain issues. There’s a gentleman I’m treating who has had pain for the past four years, throughout his legs and back. He retired recently and all the symptoms have got worse. No one has been able to help him. I believe we can.

If patients come in looking for cosmetic treatments, we try to make them understand that’s not what we do. You don’t go to your dentist to make your teeth look pretty.

We are getting busier because people are exercising more. Since the recession, we notice that people are running a lot more. It’s much cheaper than going to the gym. Running is generally good for your health but people embark on it while having muscular, skeletal or strength issues. They’re not strong enough and not flexible enough. We tend to see them when their issues become chronic.

When dealing with a patient for anything other than routine chiropody, we always email them a report. We want to educate the patient. Studies show that if you educate your patients, they’ll get a better outcome because they’ll be more compliant. That takes up a lot of time but it’s worth it. I like to go home knowing I did for my patients what I’d do for my own family.

People of all ages come into us. The youngest patient I’ve seen was six months old and the oldest was 96. In 80 per cent of cases involving kids under 10, it’s a case of just reassuring the parents that their kids’ feet are normal. In some cases, we might recheck the child 12 or 18 months later. Being a parent, I understand. You’re inclined to think the worst.

The 96-year-old patient had a sprained ankle. I asked him when he sprained it and he said it happened in 1932. I don’t know why all of a sudden he decided he wanted treatment. Because of the sprain, he had severe osteoarthritis in the ankle and foot. I gave him some stability, taking some of the force off with orthotics. The man also had some weak muscles in his lower leg so the physiotherapist got involved and gave him exercises. After two or three months, he was discharged.

I did all sorts of training while I was at college; even treating leprosy patients. Diabetes is a growing problem. There’s a statistic that says if you have a foot amputated as a diabetic, you have a 50 per cent chance of being dead in five years. Ella Fitzgerald had diabetes and didn’t look after herself and had both legs amputated. It also happened to Zsa Zsa Gabor.

What I really like is seeing a patient who hasn’t been in for a year or two. You know you can fix them. On the downside, there are the troublesome patients who have something else going on in their lives. I don’t like the administration side of the job either. I always knew I wanted to work at something medical. I kind of drifted towards podiatry. I was qualified for a year before I realised it was what I loved.

Fixing people gives me satisfaction. We seem to get what other clinicians haven’t been able to fix. 

Full article published in The Irish Times; February 11th 2015

Article by: Collette Sheridan