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.

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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QQI Level 5 and Level 6 Points Calculator - 2016 Entry

Enter the credit scores and results of your modules to automatically calculate your CAO points score.


Note: Max points = 400

Credits Vs Points:

In most Further and Higher Education courses, every module you take has a credit value. Short modules have fewer credits than longer modules. Completing a module means you have achieved all the credits for that module. Typically, QQI modules are 15 credits each – so completing 8 modules = 120 credits. 120 Credits are needed to achieve a QQI Major Award.

However, sometimes a module will have as much as 30 credits, so completing one large module (30 Credits) plus 6 more normal modules (6 × 15 = 90) would achieve the 120 credits needed. Some courses also offer additional modules, in which case you use the scores from your best ones to calculate your points, but this makes figuring out your points trickier.

The Calculator above will work for all combinations once you put in the information required.



Progression Routes

Finding CAO Courses using QQI Progression Routes.

Your QQI Award can be used as an alternative to the Leaving Cert to access Higher Education (CAO) courses. Hundreds of courses are available to holders of any QQI award, while others will require specific awards.

CAO Search with QQI Award

Note: Places for QQI applicants on CAO courses are limited, and your CAO points calculated from your highest QQI qualification will be used as a criteria for acceptance.

Scoring Scheme

This scoring system for QQI awards for entry through CAO to higher education applies from 2013. This scoring system will apply to all relevant QQI level 5 and 6 awards listed on the CAO and higher education institution websites.

Scoring Scheme