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 Mark Maguire from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:

Mark Maguire

Apprentice Electrician

Construction Industry Federation

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Mark	Maguire
The advice I would give is firstly talk to someone you may know that is already in the trade and ask them any questions that you may have or ask them about some of there first hand experiences.

Another good piece of advice would be to go onto YouTube and search some basic electrics, keep in mind that these are the kind of things that you will face when you go to the college phases of your apprenticeship . There are books and e-books that can be purchased to get an understanding.
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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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Brid Sheehan - Grid Controller

Q: What’s your educational background?

I have a BSc in Applied Physics and Instrumentation as well as an MSc in Renewable Energy and Energy Management. I graduated with my BSc from Cork Institute of Technology in 2004. I completed my MSc through distance education with the University of Ulster.

Q: Tell us a bit about your job.

I work as a Grid Controller – I am the only female Grid Controller at Bord Gáis Networks. Grid Control is based at our headquarters in Cork and constantly monitors transmission gas flows (high pressure gas transportation through large steel pipes) and system pressures throughout the network. Grid Contol is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-of-the-year operation and carries out its function with the assistance of hi-tech, industry-specific systems. My colleagues in Gas Control in our office in Finglas, Dublin, manage the distribution system, i.e. the pipes that deliver natural gas from the transmission pipes to our homes and businesses.

Q: What do you do on a daily basis?

As a Grid Controller, my role is to monitor the gas grid to ensure the safe operation of the Irish natural gas system. Some of the key parameters we monitor are gas pressures, temperatures and flows, and valve positions. We also monitor gas detectors around the country and control the flow and pressure of gas at strategic locations. This includes three gas turbine compressor stations. We have two stations in Scotland compressing gas for transportation to Ireland via two sub-sea interconnector pipes, and one in Cork where gas comes onshore at Inch from the Kinsale gas field.

Q: What do you like about your work?

I like the variety of people from different engineering disciplines that I interact with every day. I’ve been in the role for three years and I learn something new every day. The working hours are shift-based, which I enjoy as it allows me more flexibility to pursue my hobbies than with a 9-5 job.

Q: Any advice for people thinking about getting into this area?

I would advise anyone who is interested in this line of work to have an interest in a wide range of engineering disciplines and to gain experience in a few different areas of engineering, once they finish their preferred course.

Article by: Smart Futures