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 Fergus O'Connell from BioPharmachem Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Fergus O'Connell

Quality Officer

BioPharmachem Ireland

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  Fergus O'Connell
A broad science background is very important. An ability to recognise small inconsistencies is equally important. For example do you recognise small discrepancies between different camera shots of the same scene in films and TV series?

An ability to question everything and think laterally is important. Also the ability to say 'no' (not everyone is comfortable doing this). Working in quality is not about being popular and definitely not about being a tyrant but one needs to be approachable, consistent and have good interpersonal skills.

Not all of your decisions are going to be popular but they need to be based on a sound rationale and you need to be able to support them. One also needs to be acutely aware of the fact that your opinion won't always be right.

One must always be open to being convinced of an alternative argument.
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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Michael Keogh - Aircraft Engineer

Michael Keogh tells Smart Futures about working as a Ryanair aircraft engineer.

Describe your typical day?

I am a B2 avionics maintenance engineer so I work on electrical, instruments and radio systems. B1 engineers work on airframe and engine systems. We work 12-hour days, working two days then two nights, followed by four days off. On a typical day, I carry out a technical status review of our operating aircraft, plan for scheduled maintenance and provide technical support for our operating aircraft in Dublin and abroad. On nights, we carry out routine and scheduled maintenance.

What’s cool about your job?

Every day is different; there are always new challenges. I get great job satisfaction when I have to recover an aircraft with a technical issue that prevents it from flying, especially when abroad. To recover an aircraft, we have to find the cause, repair or remove and install a component, followed by a complete test of the affected system.

What are the main challenges?

Working in a high-pressure environment and maintaining our aircraft in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. I must keep up to date with my Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) licence, company approval and recurrent training. Another challenge is learning about new aircraft and systems in a constantly changing industry.

How do you get an IAA licence?

After completing an apprenticeship and on-the-job training, you can apply to do IAA exams. Once completed, the IAA issues a licence.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Engineering and science subjects are extremely important as they help you to understand aircraft systems such as aerodynamics, pneumatic, hydraulics, jet propulsion, radio theory, electrical theory and instrumentation.

What subjects did you take in school?

I took maths, English, Irish, engineering, technical drawing, physics and French. The science and engineering subjects were essential during my apprenticeship and I use them every day in work.

What did you do after school?

I did an apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering with Ryanair in conjunction with FÁS in Shannon and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). During my apprenticeship I did night classes in radio, instruments and electrical theory.

What inspired your interest in engineering?

Having a curious mind; I always loved the practical side of technical drawing, metalwork and physics.

Article by: Smart Futures