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 Peter Clifford from An Garda Sí­ochána to give some advice for people considering this job:

Peter Clifford

Probationer Garda

An Garda Sí­ochána

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Peter Clifford
To get physically fit for the entrance tests and also for the demanding physical nature of the job. Also I would tell people to enjoy themselves before they join as it’s a job for at least 30 years.

I would also informl people about the variety of avenues people can get into when they have completed their training. There really is a career for every person regardless of where their interests lie. There is so many specialised units and prospects.
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Is engineering for me?

Are you naturally curious about how things work? Love solving problems? Enjoy making, breaking or designing things? If you answered yes, engineering might be right for you.

Is engineering for me?

Are you naturally curious about how things work? Love solving problems? Enjoy making, breaking or designing things? If you answered yes, engineering might be right for you.

Career Opportunities... header image
What are the main occupations in this sector?


There are many career opportunities available for mechanical engineering graduates: 

Industry: innovating, creating and testing designs for new technologies across many industries. There are many opportunities available in the medical devices, healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors in Ireland with many world class companies locating here.

Government: product testing and establishing safety standards.

Consultancy: carrying out studies about possible changes or improvements and estimating costs of products for clients.

Research Centres: carrying out research in the use of different types of fuel and energy, materials handling, heating and cooling processes, the storage and pumping of liquids and gases and environmental controls.

Industrial manufacturing and industry is the biggest employment area for engineering graduates. In a manufacturing environment, engineers are responsible for the safe and efficient planning, management and maintenance of production methods and processes, often working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

The most common backgrounds are mechanical and electrical/electronic engineering, but there is huge overlap and mobility between disciplines. There are also some primary degrees that specialise in manufacturing engineering.

The engineering sector itself is made up of a wide range of companies providing a diverse range of products and services. The three main categories are:

  • Aerospace/aviation
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Process engineering and instrumentation

 

What types of employment contracts are there?


There has been an increase in jobs focused on high-tech, specialist engineering roles with many multinational companies locating their R&D development in Ireland. This translates into good quality permanent and contract employment opportunities available in both indigenous and multinational companies.

This changing focus to R&D has created a trend in Ireland for low-skilled production jobs to move to Eastern Europe and the Far East.

 

What are the typical earnings of these occupations?


According to the Hayes Ireland Salary Guide typical salaries for graduate Mechanical and Electrical Engineers fall in the €28,000 to €32,000 range.

 

How do you get a job in this sector?


Sector companies typically recruit directly via the company website - it is always worth visiting their careers area.

Larger engineering companies tend to approach academic institutions directly, through specific engineering departments or college career services, as well as attending recruitment fairs. You should make a point of attending recruitment fairs if one is held on your campus, and make a note of crucial milkround visits from organisations that interest you.

Some companies will recruit by advertising in National Newspapers or with sector representative bodies.

A placement or work experience is not a requirement to get a graduate job in engineering, but it can help. Companies may specify for example, that applicants should have a minimum of one year’s relevant experience in a manufacturing environment or ‘consideration will be given to applicants with relevant industrial placements’.

 


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?


Entrants to Mechanical Engineering typically have achieved an accredited Level 8 or Level 9 Bachelor's degree.

Students graduating from 2013 onwards will require a level 9 masters degree or equivalent to be eligible for the title 'Chartered Engineer' (CEng).

Graduate engineers from all core disciplines should aim to achieve accredited chartered engineer status. Chartered engineers are seen as professionals who possess a recognised and guaranteed level of skills, competence and standards.

Chartered engineer status ensures quality, employability and professional recognition.
The first step is to get a position with an employer that runs a graduate programme accredited by Engineers Ireland or The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Working within a graded graduate programme enables you to achieve chartered engineer status within a few years of qualifying.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has become a key element for engineering professionals at all levels and involves ongoing development and training in both technical and non-technical areas.

What's involved?

  • A working/training period (Initial Professional Development) of four years duration;
  • Written work in the form of a practice report and essays; and
  • To attend for professional interview.
  • You are also likely to be required to participate in several recommended training courses, particularly for employer-run graduate programmes. In addition to working within the criteria set out for employer-run graduate programmes, you must participate in several recommended training courses.

The following topics are covered:

  • Project management
  • Financial awareness
  • Managerial leadership
  • Personal development/communication skills
  • Legislation
  • Quality and
  • IT skills

 

What are the typical routes into this sector?


Students can study mechanical engineering at Level 6, 7 or 8 in colleges across Ireland. Alternatively, students can study an undenominated engineering degree and then specialise in mechanical engineering in the final year of the course. This is particularly useful for students who are unsure which engineering discipline interests them most.

Note: Students graduating from 2013 onwards will require a Level 9 Master's degree or equivalent to be eligible for the title 'Chartered Engineer' (CEng). 

 


Advice... header image
What advice do you have for school leavers?


Engineers who graduate and wish to become chartered engineers will need to hold an accredited masters degree (level 9), or equivalent.

Level 8 bachelor degrees will satisfy the requirements for Institution of Engineers of Ireland membership only.

 

What advice do you have for graduates?


There is now a real shortage of qualified engineers with 5-10 years experience in manufaturing operations. This position is set to continue until graduate numbers increase to meet industry demand.

 


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Global Opportunities... header image
Are there overseas opportunities available?

Mechanical engineering offers graduates a huge variety of career paths across a wide range of industries including aeronautics, motor car and engine development, transport systems, entertainment, electronics, medical and information technology.

As a mechanical engineer, technologist or technician, you can find work in Ireland or abroad with a wide range of opportunities:

  • Government: product testing and establishing safety standards
  • Industry: innovating, creating and testing designs for new technologies
  • Consultancy: carrying out studies about possible changes or improvements and estimating costs of products for clients
  • Research Centres: carry out research in the use of different types of fuel and energy; materials handling; heating and cooling processes; the storage and pumping of liquids and gases; and environmental controls.

Even if you choose to remain in Ireland, a career in engineering provides many opportunities to travel. Proficiency in a second language greatly increases opportunities abroad.

 

Are there opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals?

Yes. Based on current skills shortages in Irish Industry, there are several Engineering Professional job roles eligible for Employment Permits currently listed on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation as follows:

2122: Mechanical engineers specialising in:

• Quality control, or validation and regulation engineering (high tech industry; food and beverages), or

• Mechanical engineering (especially polymer engineering skills in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical devices or green economy), or

• Chemical process engineering, or

• Process automation engineering, or

• Power generation, transmission and distribution, or

• Related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience

 

2123: Electrical engineers specialising in:

• Chip design, test engineering, or application engineering, or

• Process automation engineering, or

• Power generation, transmission and distribution, or

• Related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience

 

2124: Electronics engineers specialising in:

• Chip design, test engineering, or application engineering, or

• Process automation engineering, or

• Power generation, transmission and distribution, or

• Related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience

 

2126: Design and development engineers specialising in:

• Quality control, or validation and regulation engineering (high tech industry; food and beverages), or

• Chip design, test engineering, or application engineering, or

• Process automation engineering, or

• Power generation, transmission and distribution, or

• Related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience

 

2127: Production and process engineers specialising in:

• Quality control, or validation and regulation engineering (high tech industry; food and beverages), or

• Chemical process engineering, or

• Process automation engineering, or

• Power generation, transmission and distribution, or

• Related and relevant specialist skills, qualifications or experience

See Engineers Ireland International Passport

 


About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?


There is a whole host of career opportunities for mechanical engineering graduates. As a Mechanical Engineer, Technologist or Technician, you can work for:

  • Industry: innovating, creating and testing designs for new technologies.
  • Government bodies: product testing and establishing safety standards.
  • Consultancies: carrying out studies about possible changes or improvements and estimating costs of products for clients.
  • Research Institutes: carry out research in the use of different types of fuel and energy, materials handling, heating and cooling processes, the storage and pumping of liquids and gases and environmental controls.

As a qualified Mechanical Engineer you could work for Glen Dimplex, Irish Rail, ESB, Aer Lingus, Siemens, Intel, IBM, or DePuy Johnson and Johnson to name but a few.

As an Industrial and Manufacturing engineering graduate you can work in the following areas:

  • Manufacturing industries including aerospace products, food, chemical, computer and electronics, automotive, to name but a few.
  • Public services
  • Management and Design consultancy
  • Purchasing and Logistics industry 

Employers of industrial and manufacturing engineering graduates include ABB, Airbus, Bausch & Lomb, BOC, Boeing, Boston Scientific, Ericsson, Ford, GSK, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Nokia, Pfizer, Roche, Xilinx to name but a few.

 

What is the size and scope of the sector?


According to the recent report “Engineering a Knowledge Island 2020”, compiled by Engineers Ireland, Ireland needs to increase the number of engineers on the Island from 40,000 to 110,000 in order to become a top 5 global economy. Mechanical and Manufacturing engineers, Technicians and Technologists will play a crucial part in ensuring that Ireland can become a top 5 global economy.

Many large multinational companies have set up operations here as a result of our highly qualified engineers and technicians and we need to continue to supply these firms with highly qualified engineering graduates and technicians in order to ensure they remain here.

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest and oldest of all the engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers are involved in almost every aspect of our lives, innovating and designing machines from computers to power generators to medical equipment. Mechanical engineering, like other branches of engineering, is firmly based on the laws of physics. The excitement and challenge lie in finding new ways to apply these laws and to make the impossible possible. Mechanical Engineers are developing tomorrow's technology, today!

Mechanical engineering offers graduates a huge variety of career paths across a wide range of industries including:

  • aeronautics
  • motor car and engine development
  • transport systems
  • entertainment
  • electronics
  • medical
  • information technology

Manufacturing engineering is about the combined art and science of designing, developing and managing the manufacture of quality products. The manufacturing engineering team is responsible for both manufacturing technology and management. They are constantly challenged to use both innovation and imagination to find better ways to make the products that we need such as MP3 players, mobile phones, cars, planes, food, pharmaceuticals, in fact almost everything we come across needs to be manufactured!

Industrial manufacturing falls into three main categories:

  • Food and drink
  • Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and plastics
  • Electrical/electronic/microelectronic and precision instruments

The strongest growth areas continue to be in the Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals sector.

Opportunities for engineers range from the design of automated systems, rooted in electronics and software disciplines, to traditional chemical engineering roles.

The jobs are continuing to develop and evolve, with growth areas including biomedical product manufacture and plastics/polymers.

The current focus on research and development is set to boost the manufacturing industry and new careers are becoming available, particularly for electronic, mechanical and production engineering disciplines. Industrial and manufacturing engineering offers many areas to specialise in. These include:

  • Tool design: inventing and designing tools for machines used in manufacturing processes
  • Robotics: designing, developing and operating robotic systems for the automotive and spacecraft sector
  • Industry management: developing new production processes, analysing manufacturing systems, risk analysis, and improvements to energy and operational efficiency
  • Material process: measuring the performance of materials and components and establishing systems to plan and control manufacturing

Industrial and Manufacturing engineers design and develop the process that makes a product, always striving to meet the challenges of producing high-quality products at the fast pace that our society now demands. They are concerned with developing processes and systems that improve quality and productivity in the manufacture of a product while meeting the highest requirements in health and safety.

 

What are the current issues affecting this sector?


Infrastructure for an island Population of 8 million”, estimates that the population of Ireland will reach 8 million in the 2030s.  The report projects that by then, 90% of the population will be living in eight principal City Regions comprising of an area of about 65km from the centre of each city. 

Jointly prepared by Engineers Ireland, the Irish Academy of Engineering and commissioned by InterTradeIreland, the study outlines the intense international competition for the knowledge-based industry of the future. This industry, which will provide the island with a high standard of living, will only locate in regions with a high level of infrastructure.

Ireland’s infrastructure at present is well below that of its international competitors. World class infrastructure can best be provided in a cost efficient way, with an urbanised population (towns with at least 1500 people) and in cities with high density.  

The study examines the infrastructural requirements of the eight City Regions in relation to transport, energy, water, waste, climate change, information technology, enterprise, engineering for health, and to the opportunities for integration of infrastructure development with a view to less cost and higher efficiency.

The greatest density of population will be on the Dublin-Belfast Corridor which will have a population of 4 million people.  For the first time, the population of the Corridor will be comparable to that of some of the larger urban zones in Europe.  

A  South West Corridor, with lower population density and a combined population of about 2 million linking the cities of Cork, Limerick and Galway, will have similar advantages and requirements.  It has a leadership role in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biomedical, and agriculture.

The development of Dublin Airport, complemented by Belfast International, as an international hub to provide worldwide connectivity for business on the island will provide the economies of scale which will be a destination for feeder services and make possible frequent flights to the fast growing markets of China, India, Russia, and Brazil.

 

 

 

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years


There will continue to be opportunities for engineering graduates in the mechanical and manufacturing sectors as Ireland competes internationally as a top 5 global economy.

Students studying engineering should remember that there are also plenty of opportunities for engineering graduates outside of the traditional engineering sector, in areas such as finance and consulting.

 

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?


Mechanical Engineering is one of the largest and most established areas of technology. It plays a major part in the development and wealth of communities and nations.
The versatility of Mechanical Engineers extends to the opportunities which are available to them in:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Project management
  • Technical sales
  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Process control
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Aeronautics
  • Materials engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Product development

In Ireland, there is significant demand for Mechanical engineering graduates among employers in the electronic, biomedical and IT sectors, at both engineering and management levels.

Ireland currently hosts 250 medical technology companies, employing 25,000 people.

Many graduates from mechanical engineering backgrounds pursue careers in the biomedical device sector.

The importance of energy efficiency and climate change is going to be a key area for manufacturing in the coming years as the development and production of products will need to constantly be evaluated and improved in terms of energy efficiency. 

Ireland has an expanding indigenous clean technology industry, with companies such as Ocean Energy developing ocean energy prototypes around the country. The food and forestry sectors also offer great potential for Ireland to boost exports.

In recent years, electrical engineering has been a significant growth area. It has seen a growth of +13.2% on average annually according to the National Skills Bulletin. Production, design and quality control engineering, has seen a +9.7% average annual growth. Manufacturing has rebounded significantly in recent times in Ireland, with a recent Purchasing Manager's Index report (September 2014) showing that the sector was showing the strongest growth seen since 1999.

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?


There is currently a real shortage of qualified engineers with 5-10 years experience in manufacturing operations.

Industry requires more specialists in chemical, biopharmaceutical and processing. Transferring, even between these specialist industries, can be challenging.

Organisations in the pharmaceutical, biopharma and medical devices sectors are facing real challenges in finding suitably qualified and experienced professionals, particularly in the engineering disciplines.

Industries in these areas are crying out for engineering professionals such as manufacturing engineers, process engineers, packaging engineers, automation engineers, chemical engineers, maintenance engineers and lean six sigma engineers. Areas such as Cork, Dublin, Galway and the South East of Ireland are hubs for such companies in these industries. These jobs offer excellent salaries and the possibility of career progression in ever expanding markets.

 


About Us... header image

STEPS works in strategic partnership with Science Foundation Ireland on Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry-education programme promoting STEM careers to post-primary students in Ireland. STEPS is managed by Engineers Ireland and supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, and a number of major engineering employers.

The aims of the STEPS programme are:

  • Encouraging a positive attitude towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Introducing to students the relevance of science, engineering, technology and mathematics to industry and everyday life
  • Raising a positive awareness and understanding of engineering as a career choice
  • Promoting a greater understanding of the role and contribution of engineering in society
  • Highlighting the advantages, diversity, opportunities and excellent rewards offered by a career in engineering

The STEPS team develops programmes for various audiences, including primary and post-primary students, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents. All STEPS post-primary activity is part of the national Smart Futures programme.

STEPS is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Funding Programme and is managed by Engineers Ireland. It is supported by a number of major engineering employers.

Smart Futures is a collaborative government-industry-education programme that provides second-level school students in Ireland with information about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and access to role models via its volunteering programme which offers free school visits. Smart Futures is coordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme.