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 Elaine McGarrigle from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elaine McGarrigle

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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Elaine McGarrigle

The most important skill that a person in my position can have is communication.

One needs to be able to communicate effectively with people of all levels in order to do a days work. I think that this is the most important quality, to be able to fit in well with people, everyone from the operators to the senior management, one needs to be able to read them and how best to communicate with them.

An interest in basic engineering and in the heavy machine industry.

It is important to realise that working as a mechanical engineer in Irish Cement does not generally involve sitting at your desk all day. It involves alot of hands on, on-site work so a person needs to be prepared to get their hands dirty.

Another quality that is important is to be willing to learn. Even after a number of years in college, one needs to be eager to learn the ins and outs of a new environment; how cement is made, what equipment is involved, what generally goes wrong and how it is fixed.

Everyone will help and teach you but you need to open your mind and be prepared to take it all in.

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Investigative?
Investigative
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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What Subjects to Take +

Choosing which subjects to study occurs in both Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. The choices made should reflect the interests and ability of your child, and take consideration of the possible career aspirations he/she may have.

In general, the Irish education system is not geared towards specific occupations or career pathways (the exception being the Leaving Cert Applied) - its aims are to provide a more fuller, rounded education. Therefore, for the most part, students can choose anything from the curriculum in order to gain a respectable and internationally recognised qualification.

This is particularly so for the Junior Cycle - which is very general in nature. Though is is normal to follow through with similar subjects from Junior Cert to Leaving Cert, it is not necessarily so - you can, for example take up Business or a Science subject in Leaving Cert without having studied it for the Junior Cert.

If your child is in Junior Cycle, follow the links for 1st year and 2nd year students to understand the options available.

If your child is in, or entering Senior Cycle, then follow our discussion in the Senior Cycle Choices section.
 
The following are some general tips and factors to consider when choosing subjects:
 
  • Ability & Aptitudes: All students have different strengths so consider their abilities in different subjects and choose subjects in which the student is likely to get good grades. 

  • Interest: Choosing subjects in which your son/daugher has a genuine interest in means they are much more likely to study them and do well.

  • Career: There are some subjects that are essential for some college courses and careers. It is important to check out these subject requirements with a Guidance Counsellor or the course provider.
 

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