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Another good piece of advice would be to go onto YouTube and search some basic electrics, keep in mind that these are the kind of things that you will face when you go to the college phases of your apprenticeship . There are books and e-books that can be purchased to get an understanding.
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Louise Lynch, Structural Engineer
Louise Lynch is a Structural Engineer with ESB International. She did Preliminary Engineering in DIT Bolton St. (1 yr, Introductory Course) and then went on to do the Honours Degree in Structural Engineering there. She loves the travel associated with her job. ESB International has work in many locations including South Africa, Spain and Vietnam.
Secondary School:- St Dominic's College, Cabra. 3rd Level Education:- Preliminary Engineering, DIT Bolton St. (1 yr, Introductory Course) - Honours Degree in Structural Engineering, DIT Bolton St. (4 yr course, general first year).
Engineers Ireland and other Profession Institutes such as the Institute of Structural Engineers carry out evening lectures throughout the year which are CPD (Continuous Professional Development) approved and continuously develop your knowledge of the industry. ESB International along with other engineering consultancy firms are accredited for the completion of the CPD programme which requires at least 5 days of CPD each year from each employee.
I continue to attend the CPD lectures provided externally and the training courses within my company. I continue to work towards developing my knowledge and to Chartership. I would like to do a Masters in Structural Engineering in the next few years.
The main subjects that have proved most useful from my degree for my work is Steel and Concrete Design. An aspect of my course I have liked the most since leaving is that I do use what I learned in college. Most of the final year subjects are useful. As those that aren't would be if I had followed a different career path.
Structural Analysis and Mechanics of Materials were the most technical subjects in college, only because they were the back bone of the other subjects. You would not require this knowledge as much in the working world because there are computers to do the work for you but they are required in college to understand what the software is doing. Highway Design - more a civil subject then structural - I would use this on very rare occasions but should I be in a different section of the industry it would be used much more.
Subjects that were more focused on communications wouldn't appear to be useful but taught me skills that I use without even thinking now. Subjects like Maths are probably the least useful in my job, but the level of Maths carried out in College would open the door to many other numerical based careers including teaching, thereby giving you very good grounds to following non engineering related careers.
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.