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 Keith Hayes from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Keith Hayes

Ambulance / Paramedic

Health Service Executive

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Keith Hayes
At a minimum get your Leaving Cert, that’s required anyway. But don’t sell yourself short aim for a third level college qualification, something like a science degree. It may not have obvious benefits now but the career is changing direction so fast it could stand to you big time.

Take your time in applying I joined the service when I was 25 yrs old and looking back I think around that age is the right time. When you consider some of the calls we attend and things we may need to deal with, joining at 17 or 18 after the Leaving Cert with little or no life experiences may turn you off because it is very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.
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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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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Engineering

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2017:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4586 students who sat the Higher Level Engineering exam in 2017.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 689 students who sat the Ordinary Level Engineering exam in 2017.

In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate engineering is the study of mechanical engineering. Students develop skills and initiative in the planning, development and realisation of technological projects in a safe manner.


Why Study this?header image

Why Study Engineering

This practical subject gives students hands-on experience of working with tools and machinery. Students also undertake theoretical and background work for their final examinations which provides useful skills for those considering a career in the sector. 

 

What kind of Student would Engineering suit

Each student should have an aptitude for and an interest in design and practical work. This subject follows on from Junior Cert metalwork.


Videos & Interviews header image


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Mechanical Engineer - Natasha Ibanez
Natasha Ibanez , CRH plcWe 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. 
  go to interview...
 
Mechanical Engineer - John Harding
John Harding, ESBI always knew I wanted some form of a technical or design job so I took the following subjects for leaving cert; (Maths, English, Irish - because you have to) Physics, Engineering, Building Construction & Agricultural Science. I believe these subjects have all helped me throughout my college days as they gave a great basis of what is taught in college. 
  go to interview...
 
Development Analyst - John Traynor
John Traynor , CRH plcPhysics, History, Geography, and French were my options for my Leaving Cert. Physics was one of the subjects that I was most interested in school, and this had a lot of influence on my decision to study electronic engineering in college. 
  go to interview...
 
Design Engineer  - Tracey Roche
Tracey Roche, Analog Devices

My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects). My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.

English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.

I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!

 
  go to interview...
 
Electronic Engineer  - Deborah Caffrey
Deborah Caffrey, IntelAfter completing my Junior Certificate I tried to choose a range of subjects in order to maintain options for Leaving Cert/College, and so studied Physics, Accountancy and Home Economics. I believed maintaining at least 1 science subject was important as it can be a requisite for many college courses. Physics was also then key in my choice of Engineering at third level. Accountancy and Home Economics were subjects I enjoyed and performed quite well at but could not see myself developing a career in. Physics was a good basis for continuing on to study Electronic Engineering in college. Although having studied any science subject at Leaving Certificate level is required for entry to engineering I believe that Physics was the most relevant for my course. 
  go to interview...
 
IQ Engineer - Darryl Day
Darryl Day, IntelPhysics and Maths were probably the two most helpful subjects I studied in school. Problem solving and analytical skills are essential in any engineering or science role and these subjects actively develop these strengths. 
  go to interview...
 
Ships Engineer - Brendan Cavanagh
Brendan Cavanagh, Bord Iascaigh MharaI had chosen physics, engineering and technical drawing which all helped when I went to train in BIM college 
  go to interview...
 
Structural Engineer - Louise Lynch
Louise Lynch, ESB

The subjects I did in school didn't help much with my career path. The only subject I did do that was useful to me career was honours maths. As I didn't have the required subjects to get into my desired course, I did an extra year - a bridging year - Preliminary Engineering.

There are always other ways to get into courses so if you have your heart set on engineering but don't have the required subjects, look into courses like Preliminary Engineering or other bridging courses. If you haven't chosen your leaving cert subjects yet, some of the subjects that will assist you in an engineering degree is honours maths, physics, chemistry and mechanics/applied maths.

 
  go to interview...
 
Mechanical Engineer - Afra Ronayne
Afra Ronayne, ESBIn school apart from the three basics of English, Irish and Maths I also took German, Accounting, Physics and Chemistry. Although Physics and Chemistry were not needed to get into the engineering course it was beneficial to have them as we had to take these subjects in first year.

However, I did not do technical drawing so I had to start this from scratch in first year of college so most people have at least one subject that they have never done before. 
  go to interview...
 
Consulting Engineer - Peter LaComber
Peter LaComber, CRH plc

I chose Physics, Chemistry and Technical Drawing as my optional subjects for the Leaving Certificate with a view to choosing an engineering course at third level.

These subjects certainly helped with first year in college as I had a foundation in those subjects to build on.

In hindsight, I would have chosen Applied Maths over Technical Drawing as the engineering course had a significant Applied Maths content.

Overall, I feel my subject choices were appropriate for my career choice.

 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

Engineering promotes an educational understanding of the materials and a knowledge of the processes associated with mechanical engineering. This is achieved through the development of skills and initiative in the planning, development and realization of technological projects in a safe manner.

You would need to have done Junior Cycle metalwork to have a clear understanding of what is involved in engineering. There is a good mix of theory and practice involved in these subject matter. Many students enjoy the practical aspect but are not too happy when it comes to the theory. You are required present a project as part of the Leaving Certificate examination, so talk to the teacher involved so that you know exactly the balance between the theory and the practical elements in this subject.


Course Contentheader image

  • Health and Safety
  • Benchwork
  • Classification and origin of metals
  • Structure of metals
  • Iron and steel
  • Non-ferrous metals
  • Heat treatment of metals
  • Fabrication and finishing of metals
  • Corrosion of metals
  • Plastics processing
  • Machining
  • Materials and Technology
  • Materials testing
  • Joining of materials
  • Metrology
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Technology


Exam Structure header image

Engineering is assessed at both Ordinary level and Higher level by means of an examination paper, a student project and a practical examination.

Workshop Processes: This section represents all the practical processes which may be applied in the school workshop integral with the related theory. This section carries 300 marks in the exam at both levels - Ordinary & Higher: There will be 150 marks for a practical exam and 150 marks for assessment of workshop/laboratory work and projects.

Materials & Technology: This section represents the wider knowledge and technology as a whole. In the written exam this section will carry 200 marks at Ordinary level and 300 marks at Higher level.


Career Possibilities header image

Engineering is useful for the following careers: mechanic, panel beater, welder, plumber, electronic and mechanical engineering, architecture, aircraft technician, army/air corps and industrial design. For more information on career pathways: click here.



Career Guidance