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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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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Senior Economist - OECD

"Recruitment is rigorous but careers are rewarding." William Hynes, Senior Economist - OECD

My career began at Trinity College Dublin, where I was a student in economics for six years. I gradually built up my knowledge of maths, statistics and economic theory through graduate courses.

As my studies and research developed through a Marie Curie Fellowship at the London School of Economics and my doctoral studies at Oxford University, I began applying the tools and insights of economics to historical and policy-related questions.



My interests were mostly in the area of international economic policy and globalisation. Following a number of short-term policy related roles, I got my first taste of international organisations working as an economic affairs officer in the Office of the Deputy Director General at the World Trade Organisation. While there I helped launch the aid-for-trade initiative to mobilise support to developing countries to connect to global markets and overcome their supply-side constraints.

I continued to work on these issues during my first assignment at the OECD beginning in 2009, while also contributed to the green growth agenda looking at how developing countries could achieve economic and environmental goals simultaneously.

In October 2014, I became a senior economist working on New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) in the Office of the Secretary General. This initiative is an organisation-wide reflection process to draw lessons from the financial and economic crisis to improve OECD analytical frameworks and policy advice. While developing my policy career, I remain connected to academia through an adjunct professorship in international economics at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

Before I joined I was well aware of the OECD as a source of comparable economic data, but I was unfamiliar with the breath of its activities. The OECD welcomes 40,000 delegates every year, in 250 committees, working parties and expert groups covering a diverse range of public policies. Delegates aided by secretariat come together to agree rules and standards, think about, review and discuss how pressing economic, social and environmental problems can be tackled. OECD offers challenging and interesting opportunities.

Recruitment is rigorous but careers are rewarding. It has a multi-cultural environment, with staff from various backgrounds with different expertise. It is a great institution in which to learn more about the policy-making process, the machinery of public policy and to be part of a team that helps governments address key global challenges through better policies for better lives.

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Article by: William Hynes