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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 Shane Callanan from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
|Being an Engineer is a great career choice. It offers so many opportunities both in Ireland and world-wide. Most positions will have terrific travel opportunities after a few years experience under your belt, and if you choose you course carefully your qualification will be recognised by employers all over the globe. Also an engineering qualification will open doors into management roles if that is your preferred career choice, but the reverse is not the case (if you do a course outside of engineering, you will probably not be able to branch off into engineering a few years after graduating).|
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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.