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 Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:


Lynsey Gargan

Manufacturing Engineer


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  Lynsey Gargan
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.

There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.

Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.

One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.

Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Career Profile: Farm Manager

Patrick Dunne is a Farm Manager from Navan, Co. Meath working in Golden, Co.Tipperary. His interests are GAA, Football and anything related to farming. 

Farm details

Area: 94 ha
Labour: 1.5 labour units
Herd: 155 spring calving cows, 50 in calf heifers and 61 calves

Career path
  • Level 5 and 6 Certificate at Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College (2 years)
  • Teagasc Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management (2 years)
  • Farm manager (6 months)

Patrick is not from a farming background but became interested in dairying through summer jobs. He chose a career in dairy farming because of the opportunities it offered being the most profitable farming enterprise. Although he admits it can be a tough lifestyle at times, being his own boss on a daily basis and having the freedom to make management decisions on the farm more than compensates. 

Overview of current role

Patrick manages all aspects of the physical farm performance, milking, grassland management, breeding and calf rearing with some guidance from the farm owner. He would like to get more involved in the financial management of the farm in the future.
Currently, he is helping to supervise the development work happening on farm in preparation for milking 200+ cows in the future.


Patrick is involved in two discussion groups. He is constantly on the lookout for any short courses or workshops that can help him improve his financial planning and business skills. Patrick firmly believes that on-farm experience is the best way to learn and develop the necessary skills which is why he chose the practical Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management course. Patrick has built up a number of contacts who are only a phone call away when he needs advice.

Future career goals

Patrick’s career goal is to enter a sharemilking arrangement. He plans to build up his own herd of cows and enter an arrangement with a farm owner. He has a positive attitude and takes pride in his work which he hopes will help him to find a progressive farm owner to work with in the future.

Article by: Teagasc