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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Natasha Ibanez , Mechanical Engineer
Engineering & Manufacturing

Natasha Ibanez , Mechanical Engineer

Natasha Ibanez has a Bachelors of Engineering from UCD, where she specialised in Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working on a project in the Ukraine with Irish Cement, building a new cement line.

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

What influenced me most in my career decisions was my understanding and interest in the school subjects I studied at school and college. Having realised that I enjoyed maths the most, I was quick to decide that either Engineering or Science should be the course I do in college. Accounting and similar courses were ruled out having attended presentations and realised that I would never get feel for the subject. I have decided for Engineering due to the career prospects, as I gathered from conversations with Engineers.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Consultation with career guidance counsellors and peers most influenced my career decision. I also researched the internet and libraries for career guidance information. I believe that research was crucial in making an informed decision.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Following the completion of my degree, with a break of one year, I applied for a job as Mechanical Engineer to a few companies. In the case of my current Employer, I sent my CV in response to job advertisements in college and on graduate web-sites. I was then invited for two rounds of interviews, as a result of which I received a letter with the much desired job offer.

Describe a typical day?

I currently work on a project, which is the installation of a complete new cement production line. The equipment to be procured, installed and commissioned range from simple belt conveyors to mills, kiln, homogenising and cooling systems. Every day would be structured depending on the tasks that need to be completed to contribute to the team's common goal, which is the completion of the project on time, within budget, safely and with adequate level of quality.

The tasks could range from resolving simple organisational issues on site to liasing between Designers, Contractors, Suppliers and other departments within the organisation.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

My main tasks and responsibilities consist of planning, organising, monitoring, problem solving based on the understanding of the design requirements, set up goals and capabilities of suppliers and contractors. For example, if there is a disagreement between the supplier of an expensive piece of machinery and the independent quality control company, hired by ourselves, understanding the technical aspects of the machine, its purpose, the fabrication process would be crutial in resolving the issue.

What are the main challenges?

There is always a steep learning curve in this industry, and it can get a bit overwhelming at times. Having said that, I have always found support from colleagues and management.

What's cool?

What I enjoy most in my job is the sense of achievement from seeing the results of hard work in the form of the project completion examples of this would be seeing new systems in operation and fulfilling its purpose.

What's not so cool?

I do not enjoy having to deal with increasing amount of paperwork. But I understand that it is only a matter of getting used to it, dealing with it efficiently. On numerous occasions the project and myself have benefited from it.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I would say that, although there are technical aspects to the job, the most important skills are communication skills, ability to motivate, ability to systemise your work and other interpersonal skills.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

We had no Physics, Chemistry and other technical subjects in the school I attended, which would have been useful for my career development.  I did however have the opportunitiy to study Honours Maths in preparation for my current career.

In hindsight I would have looked for the opportunitiy to at least study Applied Maths, which would have made it easier to go through first year in college.

I am delighted I went to UCD, where it was possible to do one common year before choosing the Engineering discipline.

What is your education to date?

Having completed my Leaving Cert, I started my studies in Mechanical Engineering at UCD. It appealed to me that the course was only four years long, at the end of which I graduated with a Bachelors in Engineering. Since then I have studied a number of short work-related courses as part of my training, mostly related to management and safety.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

I find there is no particular subjects or modules in college that are particularly relevant for my job. They were all relevant. It has been useful to have at least some technical understanding of most of the subjects studied in college.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

I find rewarding the sense of achievement from project completion.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I believe the fact that I am ambitious and motivated helps me most in my career.

What is your dream job?

I would do what I am doing now.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

I enjoy the predictability of the "9 to 5" job. It allows me to plan my leisure activities and my family life. There are times during projects when greater commitment of time is required, but within a well structured organisation these occasions are kept to the minimum. My job also gives the opportunity to join project teams abroad thus giving the opportunity to experience completely new environments and find new friends.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

An education in Mechanical Engineering would be preferable. I would advise them to get as much diverse work experiences as possible, even if these jobs are not engineering related.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Good inter-personal skills, patience, organisation, motivation and decision making.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I hope to undertake further studies in management and business to complement my Engineering degree.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Work in any industry.

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