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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Social?
Social
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Supported Routes to College

Supported access routes to college are about raising third level participation rates among people from under-represented groups.

Two such initiatives for school-leavers who are applying to college through the CAO system are DARE and HEAR.

DARE is the disability access route to third level. It is a college and university admissions scheme which offers places on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with a disability.

Full details of DARE.

HEAR is an admissions route into college for school leavers who, for social, financial or cultural reasons, are under-represented in third level education. Colleges participating in the scheme set aside a quota of places with reduced points and make these available to eligible students.

Full details of HEAR.

ACCESS Programmes and Courses

For school leavers or other people who can't get to third level by the traditional routes, many Universities and Institutes of Technology across the country offer an ACCESS course or programme of some kind. Those who successfully complete an ACCESS programme may then be able to apply to the college for a place on a third level degree course.

ACCESS courses aim to provide participating students with the skills and knowledge needed for undertaking a full-time third level course and to make the whole process of transition to third level much easier. They also help students to identify and choose the third level course that is best suited to their particular interests and abilities.

An ACCESS Course is typically designed for people whose background education was limited by socio-economic circumstance and educational disadvantage and to support them in overcoming these barriers and succeeding at third level education.


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