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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.
We asked Damien Mason from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:
If you are really interested in people and have good interpersonal skills, you will find this job very rewarding.
Like a lot of jobs, you will not be using all the theoretical knowledge you gained in University or College, but you will develop significant management potential and the environment is stimulating and rewarding.
As an engineer, you will probably spend about 50% of your time in the office, and the other 50% out in the plant.
You should also expect that you may be asked if you are willing to travel abroad. This would be very attractive to most people, and a definite means to gain great experience, but it may not suit everyone.
You should ideally be a balanced person, someone with a good deal of technical knowledge, but also a good ability to deal with people.
Responsibility and challenges will be given to you from day one, and if you can handle the pressure, you will gain more and more responsibilities, ultimately leading you to gain invaluable experience, and undoubtedly onto a successful management position.
With the global nature of ICL's parent company CRH, this could be yours in Ireland or one of many countries worldwide.
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Elaine McGarrigle, Mechanical Engineer
Elaine McGarrigle works as a Graduate Engineer for Irish Cement. Studying Physics in second level gave her a basic understanding of mechanics, which she found very enjoyable and influenced her decision to study mechanical engineering. She graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
I attended the Mercy College secondary school for 5 years from 1995 to 2000 and did Physics and Chemistry for the Leaving Cert.
The mechanics part interested me and influenced my decision to pursue a career in Mechanical Engineering.
I applied for a Certificate in Mechanical Engineering in Sligo I.T. in 2000 and completed that course in 2002.
I then moved to Letterkenny I.T. for a 1 year Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
Following my graduation from Letterkenny I transferred into Year 3 of a 4 year course in NUI, Galway doing a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Recently through Irish Cement, I completed a Certificate in Health, Safety & Welfare at Work through University College Dublin.
My 3 years in an Institute of Technology proved beneficial in the basics of my present job.
Learning about how to assemble machinery and techniques involved in maintenance such as welding, turning, milling and using hand tools gave me basic understanding in how maintenance was carried out in the plant.
Mechanical Analysis and Design (NUIG) covered areas such as designing new machinery, and what type of fasteners to use (Bolts, welding etc). This prepared me for designing new machinery and also gave me an understanding when dealing with contractors and consultants.
Although I used both 2-D and 3-D drawing packages in my 5 years at college, my present job required only a basic use of 2-D AutoCAD. I use this to study and examine drawings and to draw basic drawings for fabrication.
I have completed a Graduate Management course in the IMI in Dublin as part of of graduate programme in Irish Cement.
I also completed a Certificate in Health, Safety & Welfare at Work in IBEC in collaboration with UCD.
I attended a Kiln and Roller Mill 4 day similar in Germany with Polysius (Supplier of cement kilns)in 2006 to gain greater knowledge on Kilns and mills.
I also attended a 2 day course in MS Project as I was required to use it in my job and a 1-day in house NSAI course in auditing for ISO.
I hope to attend a bearing and welding course this year and also a Project Management course to further my education in these areas.
I also hope to attend a Quarry Management (DAPS) course next year in Derby, England to further my knowledge in quarrying with the hope of pursuing a career in CRH in this area.
After my Junior Certificate in secondary school, I chose to study Physics, Chemistry and Classical studies for the Leaving Certificate.
Physics gave me a basic understanding of mechanics, which I found very enjoyable and this influenced my decision to choose mechanical engineering.
Chemistry and Classical Studies were subjects that I found very enjoyable but did not really entice me to choose a career in those areas.
Engineering drawing provides a basic understanding in this area and this is a subject that I studied through-out my 5 years in college and use on a regular basis in my job.
I would recommend a student to study physics and engineering drawing and possibly metalwork as these subjects would best support mechanical engineering as a career.
However I believe that it is not imperitive to study these subjects or to excel in these areas to pursue a career in engineering. My first year in college involved learning the basics of many subjects including maths, mechanics and engineering drawing. This allowed those who were weak in those subjects to catch up.