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.

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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Occupation Details

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Train Driver

Job Zone

These occupations usually require a Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a bank teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, retail salespersons and tellers.

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At a Glance... header image

Employed by transport companies to drive either passenger or freight trains.

The Work header image

Train drivers drive diesel or electric trains carrying passengers and/or goods. They have a detailed knowledge of their route, the track lay out, speed limits and timetables. They start the train using sophisticated controls. Then they monitor the speed ensuring the journey is smooth and safe. The locomotive driver driving a passenger train, travels between stations stopping for passengers at pre defined places along the way. They need to operate signal equipment and ensure the safety of the train and the passengers. They are also responsible for checking oil, water and fuel.  
The driver must make sure that all health and safety regulations are adhered to.  
Trains operate for long hours; because of this Locomotive Drivers may work unsociable hours. 

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Monitor gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brakelines or in main reservoirs.


Observe tracks to detect obstructions.


Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.


Receive starting signals from conductors and use controls such as throttles or air brakes to drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas turbine-electric locomotives.


Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.


Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.


Respond to emergency conditions or breakdowns, following applicable safety procedures and rules.


Check to ensure that brake examination tests are conducted at shunting stations.


Call out train signals to assistants to verify meanings.


Inspect locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each run or to check for mechanical problems.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material:  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.


Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards:  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.


Controlling Machines and Processes:  Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information:  Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Handling and Moving Objects:  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Transportation:  Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.


Public Safety and Security:  Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.


English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Education and Training:  Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


Mechanical:  Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Operation and Control:   Controlling operations of equipment or systems.


Operation Monitoring:   Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Quality Control Analysis:   Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.


Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Safety is very important. You need to have sound judgement, quick reactions and initiative. If you find a fault on the train or track, or if an incident occurs, then it is up to you to decide on the appropriate action.  
Drivers are expected to follow set procedures so you must be able to observe rules and regulations. Driving trains can be tiring and monotonous, so you will need the stamina to keep alert and concentrate for long periods.  
Some mechanical interest and ability will help you to understand how the train works, and to identify and repair small faults.  
You need to be able to work both on your own, with little direct supervision, and as a member of a team. Upon contact with passengers you should be pleasant, helpful and courteous. Efficiency, reliability and punctuality are important.  
Good eyesight and hearing are required. You must be physically fit and good health is very important. You must also pass a medical examination. A mechanical or electrical background would be beneficial.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Land Train Supervisor - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Train Driver - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Train Driver - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Tram Driver - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Iarnrod Eireann
  Address: Connolly Station, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 703 2499
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Transport & Logistics

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