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.


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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Junior Cycle - 1st Year

The Junior Cycle programme runs over three years and culminates in the Junior Certificate Examination. There are three core subjects:

  • English
  • Irish
  • Maths

CSPE (Civic, Social & Personal Education) is also compulsory

Currently the overall number of subjects taken at Junior Cert varies from school to school but generally falls between eight and ten. However this is set to change with the introduction of the new Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA) Programme in all secondary schools by September 2014.

The main points of significance in relation to the new JCSA programme are:

  • A cap  on the total number of subjects taken at Junior Certificate Level to eight
  • Potential for Short courses in 16 new areas including Chinese Language & Culture, Leadership & Web Design
  • Revised Assessment arrangements
  • 24 Statements of Learning
  • Focus on 8 Key Skills to be embedded in the learning outcomes and appropriate to the age of the learner




Managing Myself

Managing Information & Thinking

Working with Others



Staying well

Being Creative


+ All to include Working with New Technologies


  • A combination of CORE subjects, subjects and short courses

You can download more in depth information here

The concepts of Careers and The World of Work are introduced as part of the school curriculum in 1st year. Developing Self Management & a Sense of Purpose and the study of Influences & Decisions are included in the SPHE programme.  In some schools there is also timetabled Careers Guidance provision for Junior Cycle students.

When picking subjects in first year, apart from the three core subjects, look at the following:

  • Enjoyment of and general interest in subject
  • General career requirement – e.g. Science subject, third language, business subject
  • Subject clusters / groupings / choice bands
  • Streaming / mixed ability / banding

Useful links:

Junior Cycle Subjects

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