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 Padraig Parle from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:


Padraig Parle

Teacher - Special Needs

Department of Education and Skills

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  Padraig Parle
It is essential to be a very patient and organised person. Also you must have a sense of humour, be easy going and not take yourself too seriously.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Back to Work - Self Employed

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (Self-Employed)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed.

If you take part in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme you may be able to keep a percentage of your social welfare payment for up to 2 years.

The scheme is often referred to as the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance. You can get immediate access to the allowance if you meet the following qualifying conditions:

  • Setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in advance in writing by a Jobs Facilitator or Partnership Company
  • Getting one of the qualifying payments below for at least 12 months:
    • Jobseeker's Allowance (at least 9 months)
    • Jobseeker's Benefit     (at least 9 months)
    • One-Parent Family Payment
    • Blind Pension
    • Disability Allowance
    • Carer's Allowance (having stopped caring duties)
    • Farm Assist
    • Invalidity Pension
    • Incapacity Supplement
    • Pre-Retirement Allowance
    • Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
    • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
    • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance or
    • Illness Benefit for 3 or more years.
The website has information on the services and entitlements available if you are self-employed and your income is reduced.
For more information: click here

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ask the experts
  Hint: Smart Futures

As I have previously mentioned, the year I graduated was a great one for electronic engineering students. All of my graduating class had at least two offers before we had sat our final exams. At the time I had the offer of either taking up a Process Engineering, Software, Test or Hardware Design Engineering position with four different companies.

I picked hardware because that was what I most interested after completing my Electronics degree. I chose a multi-national company, and my advice to any graduate would be to start your career with an international company. Many of these companies will have formal graduate training programs in place, with pre defined career opportunities in place. Learning in a well established, and well structured environment will be crucial to any engineer entering the workforce for the first time.

After 12 months I left this company to work as a test engineer. At the time I didn’t want to commit my career to hardware design. I left on very good terms with the promise that if it didn’t work out I should make contact again. After 12 months I decided that my initial choice was what I wanted to pursue, and I was soon working again at my first company. I was promoted to team leader for a small engineering team, and the opportunity presented itself to pursue a career in management, but I wanted to stick with an engineering role. Eventually I was promoted to a senior design engineering position where I continued to design power supplies up until 2006. This was a very exciting time for me, and professionally my career really advanced.

In 2006 an opportunity arose to join a small Irish company that was moving its headquarters from Dublin to Cork. This company was Excelsys Technologies. The role was to head up the Applications Engineering group. I met with the Managing Director, who had previously headed up European Operations for the first company I had worked for. I also knew some of the other staff, again having previously worked with them. We now have a concentrated group of very experienced engineers, designing some of the highest power density power supplies in our chosen market.

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