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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.
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Lynsey Gargan, Manufacturing Engineer
After her Leaving Cert, Lynsey chose to do a Mechanical Engineering course in DIT. She had taken work experience in IBM during the summer months, and applied for a position there when one became available after she Graduated. She chose the Manufacturing Process option in Year 2 of the course and now works as a Manufacturing Process Engineer.
In school I was limited by the amount of subjects offered. I went to an all girl's convent school and they had pretty much the stereotypical girl's school subjects then.
For my optional subjects I did Geography, H&E Social and Scientific and Biology. I had all the regular subjects too. English, Irish, Maths and French. I think it's fairly obvious from the above list that my subjects didn't have much of a influence over my third level education choices.
If subjects like physics, engineering etc., had been on offer, I think I would have taken them instead but they were not available to me. I don't believe choices made in school about subjects always have to dictate what you do in college. In my case it just meant I had to work a little harder in the first year of college to catch up.
My school subjects never stopped me. If you know what you like and what you want do, you will always find a way. To be honest it's the knowing what you like that's harder, there are lots of paths to achieve what you want in education today.
I have an Irish Leaving certificate. I have a First Class Honours degree in Manufacturing Engineering. I took the long way round so I also have a Certificate and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering too.
I attended DIT which has a name for being very hands on. They offer skills which are not confined to theory.
In my first year I learned to weld, sand cast metal, machine shop work, sheet metal work. All of these were alien to me but it gives an incredible appreciation of the processes needed to make to simplest of things.
It also consisted of a lot of classroom work doing maths, physics and other engineering orientated subjects. My work on a daily basis is split into two different sections. On the one hand I use in-house computer systems which control the production of an extremely varied product.
On the other hand I spend a lot of time on the manufacturing floor, trouble shooting and solutioning which can involve anything from changing how something moves through the factory to designing equipment or solutions. My course prepared me for that and it affords me a variation in my daily tasks that I really like.
It is definitely my intention to return to education in the very near future. I am out of college two years and even now I can see the advantage to continuous education.
The one thing that is always recommended by engineers that I have encountered is to take any and all education that you can. Apart from the fact that it makes you infinitely more qualified for different jobs, it keeps you up to date with new technologies and methodologies.
Sometimes a company will contribute towards costs and give you time to attend college if it is related to upskilling for a role which the company values. To date, I have witnessed a number of people transition from one type of career to a completely different career within the same company.
Education is the tool that allows you to change your work life to whatever you wish depending on how you go about it.