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 Elaine McGarrigle from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elaine McGarrigle

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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  Elaine McGarrigle

The most important skill that a person in my position can have is communication.

One needs to be able to communicate effectively with people of all levels in order to do a days work. I think that this is the most important quality, to be able to fit in well with people, everyone from the operators to the senior management, one needs to be able to read them and how best to communicate with them.

An interest in basic engineering and in the heavy machine industry.

It is important to realise that working as a mechanical engineer in Irish Cement does not generally involve sitting at your desk all day. It involves alot of hands on, on-site work so a person needs to be prepared to get their hands dirty.

Another quality that is important is to be willing to learn. Even after a number of years in college, one needs to be eager to learn the ins and outs of a new environment; how cement is made, what equipment is involved, what generally goes wrong and how it is fixed.

Everyone will help and teach you but you need to open your mind and be prepared to take it all in.

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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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Career Interests


What are your Career Interests?

Enterprising?
Enterprising 
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.


A Theory of Career Interests

The idea of career interests has been made famous by the work of John Holland, an American psychologist who has been researching this area for over 30 years. His theory is based on the following main ideas:

Bullet People can be generally described using six categories of interests and attitudes that capture the spirit of the individuals they profile.
Bullet People are best described using combinations of these categories. Most people can be best described using two or three categories.
Bullet The categories that represent an individuals interests are the result of many influences, including family, upbringing, cultural environment, educational opportunities, school and work experience and so on.
Bullet Occupations can also be described using the same six categories.
Bullet Work environments also have distinct characteristics, and can equally be classified using the same six categories
Bullet People who work in occupations and environments that have related characteristics are more likely to feel comfortable and motivated with their work and develop satisfying careers

We use a localised adaptation of Hollands categories to assist with categorising occupations and courses throughout this site. A summary of the types is presented below. Click on the category titles to get further information.

Interest Categories
Realist 
R 
Realistic occupations involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outdoors. 
Administrative 
A 
Administrative occupations involve working with data and details more than with ideas and people. These people like clear routines and instructions, and enjoy checking facts and figures. 
Enterprising 
E 
Enterprising occupations involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. 
Investigative 
I 
Investigative occupations involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. 
Social 
S 
Social occupations involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others. 
Creative 
C 
Creative occupations involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules. 
Linguistic 
L 
Linguistic types enjoy work involving the creation and exchange of information through writing, electronic media or the spoken word. These people prefer unstructured environments where there is time to use their imagination to compose their thoughts. 
Naturalist 
N 
Naturalists' like work that involves 'doing' something to 'organic things', i.e. plants, animals and their produce (e.g. food). Like Realists, Naturalists enjoy a hands-on approach, and like to see tangible results. 

Online Resources
Veterinary Science for All Walks of Life 
  A veterinary careers information booklet that explains the many different career options available with a veterinary degree.
Career Interests

John Holland's theory has been used worldwide to help categorise workplaces and the occupations within them. The official test to measure your interests is the SDS - Self Directed Search, which can be taken online for a small fee.
[link is to a site outside of CareersPortal]