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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Enterprising?
Enterprising 
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Work Experience (School)
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Self Assessment
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Skills

Just about all occupations are characterised by a particular set of skills. We often associate the idea of skills to specific technical activities, like fine hand-eye coordination, or problem solving. However, there are a range of life skills which are equally important, and often overlooked.

We all have valuable skills we may be unaware of. Skill based self assessments help us to focus on those skills we may have, and identify the skills we may be weak in.

You can learn more about career skills here: Go to section on Transferable Career Skills

Useful Links...

Prospects Planner [UK]  
A job exploration tool which aims to help you identify your skills, motivations and interests and then to match yourself to relevant job types. Designed for at College students. (Registration required)
Communication Skills Self-Assessment Inventory 
Download a 20 item questionnaire that measures your Communication Skills from HTC Consulting.
Skills You Need 
Several free assessments covering many soft-skills used in the workplace. Requires an email to receive results.
Motivated Skills Test 
For existing workers, this is a quick and easy way to identify the skills which are central to your career satisfaction and success. Free, from Stewart, Cooper & Coon


Paper Based Assessments

You can download a number of self assessments from the links below.

Skills:
Use the exercise on this downloadable worksheet to discover the most sought after skills needed to get jobs in the modern workplace. By rating yourself on these skills, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses may lie. Then, you can look for opportunities to develop and practice your underdeveloped skills.

Download:
Worksheet - Career Skills Self-Assessment
[pdf - 540Kb, 4 pages]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet

Career Interests
Use the exercise on this downloadable worksheet to identify where your interests lie. This exercise takes no more than 10 min to complete and can help identify what career interest groups you are most interested in.

Download:
Worksheet - Career Interests Self-Assessment
[pdf - 97Kb, 1 page]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet

Values
This brief exercise helps to clarify your values according to six commonly used categories.
Download:
Worksheet - Values Self-Assessment
[pdf - 145Kb, 2 pages]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet