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

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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.

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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Life as an Administrative Officer in the Dept of An Taoiseach

"My work is certainly never boring!" Christine Reen, Administrative Officer - Department of An Taoiseach. 

I studied Business Studies in University of Limerick before completing my masters in University College Cork in 2010. I studied Economics and therefore wanted to pursue a career in this field, I joined the Civil Service in 2012 as an AO Economist in the Department of An Taoiseach.

Working in the Department of An Taoiseach means working at the heart of Government every day.

I work in the Economic, International and Northern Ireland Division which means I experience a wide range of tasks every day. One day I can be working on British – Irish relations and the next I could be developing Economic policy. I am centrally involved organising meetings and trips for the Taoiseach.

I find my role challenging and diverse. It also allows me to be exposed to high level meetings and gives me an insight to how Government really works.

In early September 2014 I applied for the position of Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs, meaning for the Irish Abroad. I felt that the experience I had gained as an Administrative Officer was a good basis for being a Private Secretary. I also wanted to gain more experience on the political side of working in the Civil Service.

Since taking up this position I have gained an insight into the daily parliamentary duties and diary commitments of a Minister.

Daily Duties 

My daily duties are usually extremely varied depending on what is scheduled in the Minister’s diary each day, whether it is speaking at an event, partaking in Dáil debates, hosting various high level meetings or travelling overseas. There is a lot of preparation to ensure the smooth execution of the Minister’s day.

I have been given a range of opportunities to travel on official Ministerial visits and gain an insight into how Government Policy and connecting with our Diaspora are entwined. Our next trip is around the St Patrick’s Day period , where the Minister is travelling to Chicago and Milwaukee.

There are also busy and exciting times ahead; the Minister is due to publish the ‘Diaspora Policy’ shortly and, once published, the implementation of this Policy both in Ireland and across the globe will commence. This will bring new projects and challenges our way but it’s sure to be an exciting few months – my work is certainly never boring!

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Article by: Christine Reen