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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 drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, 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.

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Interviews
Elva Bannon, Mechatronic Engineer
Engineering & Manufacturing

Elva Bannon, Mechatronic Engineer

Elva talks here about her role as a Mechatronic Engineer at ocean energy company Wavebob.

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first question!

How did you go about getting your current job?

In 2008 I did a Masters in Advanced Engineering in DIT, with subjects picked to set me up for a career in renewable energy.

I started to become very interested in ocean energy and realised how important it is for Ireland. My thesis was about wave energy in Ireland, and this led me to see what companies might be looking for someone with my qualifications. Wavebob had not advertised any positions, but I sent in a CV anyway as I knew they were doing work that I wanted to be a part of.

Following some initial phone calls, and then an interview, I was offered a graduate engineer position.

Describe a typical day?

I’ve worked in a wide range of areas over my four years at Wavebob, from mechanical design to data analysis – but most recently a lot of my work has been related to tank testing. We use large wave tanks to test scaled models of our [ocean energy] device, to see how it reacts to different wave conditions, and we use this data to feed in to the design and manufacture of the full size machine.

As Wavebob are a wave energy technology developer, we are constantly learning and innovating. We are inventing a new way of doing things and that presents certain challenges, but it is also very exciting. It’s very important to keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry and associated academic research – this means attending conferences, reading research papers and even keeping up to date with related technologies.

What's cool?

I’m part of a team inventing something new that has the potential to provide clean renewable energy.

It is incredible to think that the work we are doing can really make a difference. As it is completely new, there are no instructions to follow. We have to develop new methods for much of what we do, or adapt methods used by other industries.

Some of the tank tests we have carried out are a great breakthrough. I have also been able to contribute to large international projects and international standards for wave energy. To view a video: click here

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

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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