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 Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Lynsey Gargan

Manufacturing Engineer

STEPS

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Lynsey Gargan
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.

There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.

Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.

One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.

Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.
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Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Career Profile: Herd Manager

Michael kennedy is a Dairy Herd Manager from Glenville, Co. Cork. His interests include both hurling and football. 

Farm details

Area: 45 ha
Labour: His father Martin who also works off-farm, Michael and relief help once a week.
Herd: 116 spring calving cows

Career path
  • Level 5 Certificate in Teagasc Kildalton Agricultural College (1 year)
  • Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Dairy Herd Management Kildalton Agricultural College (1 year)
  • He has worked as a herd manager for 1 year
Background

Michael grew up milking cows. His father Martin also has an off-farm job with O’Dwyers steel which is one of the reasons Michael decided to go home farming. The herd is pedigree Holstein Friesian and both Michael and his father have a big interest in breeding.

Overview of current role

Michael is responsible for the herd and grassland management. Martin used to measure grass occasionally but Michael now religiously walks the farm every Monday. He uses the grass figures to discuss any actions needed with his father. Both pick the team of bulls to be used on the cows and both help to keep the herd records up-to-date.

Up-skilling

Michael learned a lot from the weekly grass walks every Monday in Kildalton. He also learned a lot during his two work placements, on a 300 cow and a 180 cow farm. He has started attending a discussion group and also hopes to join a young farmers group in the future.

Career goals

After Michael came home farming, he and Martin decided on a five year farm plan. Reseeding and improving the farms infrastructure are the two main goals. Michael wants to learn more about managing the farm’s finances and sees himself taking on more management responsibility in the future. 

Article by: Teagasc