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 Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.

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Investigative?
Investigative 
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Adult Learner

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Other Funding for Adult Learners


There are some other sources of financial support available to adult learners who meet specific criteria as outlined below.

SPIDAS

The Special Initiatives for Disadvantaged Adults Scheme forms part of the community education grant. This is a small, discretionary fund to enable ETBs to support disadvantaged learners who are attending second chance education (FETAC Levels 1-4) and provides funds towards the cost of books, fees, materials, travel and food. It is only used in exceptional circumstances and where all other programmes do not apply, so for example, it is not applicable where a learner is in receipt of Back to Education Allowance

To find out more information contact your local ETB: click here

AREA-BASED SUPPORTS

St. Vincent de Paul

There is some help at local level for clients of St. Vincent de Paul through an assistance fund. Applicants can apply to the Education Officer in the Society, enclosing a letter outlining what they are studying and what factors are inhibiting their studies. Generally this fund is reserved for learners who have not been successful with other agencies.

To find out more: click here

The Credit Union 

Credit Unions in Ireland provide support for members in their catchment areas for studying at all levels of further and higher education:

Education Loans - Credit unions offer education loans to members, either for the support of members themselves or for a son or daughter. Whilst a full-time course in higher education is generally the prerequisite for consideration, some credit unions may offer finance to support participation in other types of education and training. Credit union education loans are often offered at a cheaper interest rate than other types of loans.

Education Grants/Bursaries - Credit Unions provide a number of education grants or bursaries in their catchment areas for students studying at all levels of further and higher education.

Click here to go the national credit union site, here you can find details of your local credit union.

For more details of your local Credit Union: click here

Dublin Port Company Scholarships 

Dublin Port Company has initiated a scheme to provide opportunities for individuals living in the Port area of Dublin to access education. Candidates include school leavers, mature students and individuals wishing to pursue third level foundation courses and repeat leaving certificate students.

For more details: click here

Annie Kelly Education Bursary

This funding is aimed at people living in North Inner City Dublin communities who have been affected by drug misuse and is designed to promote access to third level education.

For more information phone: 01-8366592 or click here

OTHER EDUCATION SUPPORTS FOR ADULTS

SIPTU

Workers who are Members of SIPTU can apply for financial support of up to €1,000 for each year of an educational course for a maximum of 4 years, relating to trade union issues, equality, industrial relations and the wider labour movement. Closing date for applications is 30th September annually.

For more information: click here

IMPACT

Workers who are members of IMPACT can apply for financial support for courses in Industrial relations or Trade Union Studies to assist them in their role as a Union Representative.

For more information: click here

It is also worth exploring Grants & Scholarships for information on financial supports generally available to all 3rd Level Students, including Scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit or talent such as sport or music.
  Hint: STEPS
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.

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