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

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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Dave Linehan - Graduate Engineer

When Dave Linehan was still in school, he saw a big future for renewable energy. Now a graduate engineer at EirGrid, he talks about his job and how he got there.

What skills does a graduate engineer need?

All engineering careers involve lots of problem solving. Team work and communications skills are important, but problem solving is a big part of it.

What do you do for EirGrid and what’s a typical day?

I started working with EirGrid last September as part of their graduate programme. I will do 12 months in one area, 12 months in another and then be assigned. Currently I work in the section where planning of the grid takes place. A typical day includes lots of desktop studies of the electricity system using various software systems. I’m working on an assessment of substations across the country now. Most of my work is office-based, but I do go out to site from time to time.

You did energy engineering in University College Cork (UCC)?

That was a pretty new course in UCC when I started in 2009. I wasn’t really sure what engineering I wanted to do but I chose that. There was a lot of media focus on renewable energy and I could see a big future for it, so that swayed me. The course was quite broad. We did modules in civil engineering, chemical engineering and electrical engineering.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in engineering?

I found the work placement I did to be of great benefit. I worked with Mainstream Renewable Power, a wind and solar developer, on an offshore wind farm project. So I would lean towards an engineering course that has work placement. Most do.

What’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy the variety of the work. I do desktop studies, but also get out on site sometimes. As part of the graduate programme here, I am doing further studies with Engineers Ireland for CPD (continuing professional development) certification.

What did you do for the Leaving Cert that helped career-wise?

I did maths, applied maths and physics; they helped big time with engineering. I also did design and communication graphics, the new version of technical drawing, and that was beneficial, particularly for civil engineering modules in college.

What do you do in your free time?

I’m big into health and fitness so I go to the gym and play a bit of sport. I’m a member of Engineers Ireland, so I go to the networking events. I do some volunteer work, such as with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Article by: Smart Futures