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.


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.
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Course Details

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Mechanical Engineering and Renewable Energy

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Undergraduate awards typically reflect three to five years of study after secondary school and include Ordinary (Level 7) and Honours Bachelor Degrees and Higher Diplomas (Level 8's).

Undergraduate awards may be achieved directly or through a series of progression steps. Learners may choose to progress upwards from a Level 5 to a Level 6, Level 7 and finally a Level 8.

Undergraduate awards are awarded by the HETAC or Higher Education Institutes.

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3rd level Graduates are qualified for a wide range of occupations, and their education prepares them for roles involving specific skills, and for coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
3 Years
Duration of course
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Summary... header image

This Level 7 degree will educate and train skilled personnel in the area of energy consumption, management and control, as applied to industrial and manufacturing settings. It will give you the capability to critically appraise energy demands, to identify areas of energy waste, to bring about corrective action and where applicable to suggest and implement an alternative energy strategy.

You will learn the environmental loading of the given process/plant and be committed to its reduction, either in terms of the product, the materials or the process

Course Details header image

From College Website...
AL711 - Mechanical Engineering and Renewable Energy
Athlone IT

From Qualifax...
AL711 - Mechanical Engineering and Renewable Energy
Qualifax - The National Courses Database
DISCLAIMER: These links are to official sources of information for this course - we accept no responsibility for the information on them.

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To view the Leaving Certificate minimum entry requirements for this course, Click Here [Source: Qualifax]

To view Mature Entry requirements, or alternative requirements, please visit Qualifax or the Colleges' website from the links available in the Course Details section above.

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This course will accept any QQI Level 5 or 6 Major Award as an entry requirement. Click on the link below to find PLC courses that also relate to this career sector. Note you can view more courses by adjusting the filters on the list page.

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Essential Module Requirements:
C20174 or C20175 or 5N1833 or LC Maths

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As a graduate from this degree, you will be in a position to apply for a variety of careers including: consulting engineers – work may include building services, energy management and building energy rating; utilities engineering/management integrating renewable and non-renewable energy options.

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