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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New Financial Services Apprenticeships Announced

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New Financial Services Apprenticeships Announced

Thursday, January 28, 2016 

New Financial Services Apprenticeships Announced

Financial Services Ireland (FSI), the Ibec group that represents the financial services sector, has announced the creation of 1,000 new apprenticeships as part of the International Financial Services Apprenticeship Initiative.

220 apprenticeships will be offered this September and FSI expects to deliver 1,000 placements by 2020.

Photo: From left to right, Carol Kenna, FSI, Phillip Matthews, President of NCI, Deirdre Giblin, NCI and a representative from IBEC helped Minister Simon Harris announce the apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeship Council has approved Financial Services Ireland and National College of Ireland to commence delivery of a suite of three unique International Financial Services Apprenticeship Schemes, aimed at school leavers, candidates with third level qualifications and workers looking to upskill.

Initially the 220 apprenticeship places will be for the following positions:

  • IFS Associate Professional – open to school leavers/ VEC or PLC student / positive service disposition (entry level roles)
  • IFS Specialist – open to career changer / prior career experience / motivated by upskilling and the prospect of an IFS career
  • IFS Advanced Specialist – open to those with prior experience and either technical qualification or technical disposition


The IFS apprenticeships are 2-years in duration. The apprentices spend 60% of their time working in IFS companies and the remainder gaining specific IFS qualifications.


Apprentices across the three schemes will graduate with qualifications from level 5 to level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications in the areas of:

  • International Financial Services
  • Data Analytics
  • Risk & Compliance and
  • Fintech 

How to apply

To register your interest, as a potential apprenticeship or industry partner, please contact Carol Kenna, Senior Executive, FSI at

These apprenticeship schemes deliver on skills identified in the Skills Needs Analysis of the International Financial Services Sector in Ireland, 2015 report by Summit Finuas Network, Partnered by Accenture and also delivers on elements of the IFS2020 Strategy.

Dr. Phillip Matthews, President of National College of Ireland, described the apprenticeship programme as ‘groundbreaking’ and said, “It opens up new pathways to employment for talented people for whom access to careers in Financial Services would have been extremely difficult; and for employers it opens up access to a previously uptapped pool of talent.”

FSI Director Marc Coleman said: “This dual system – where apprentices work in a company and study simultaneously – has been proven to work in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. FSI companies will be offering apprenticeships as part of this initiative. The apprenticeship will give access to careers in international financial services to those that otherwise may not have considered it.”

Speaking at the launch of the apprenticeship scheme, Minister of State at the Departments of Finance PER and Taoiseach with Special Responsibility for International Banking, Simon Harris said: “I welcome FSI's initiative and commitment in taking this strand of the Government's IFS2020 Strategy forward. Building capacity into our skills' base in this sector is vital to maintaining our recovery by way of sustainable job creation.”


In 2015, Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD announced the addition of 25 new areas to the apprenticeship scheme in Ireland.

The new apprenticeship schemes have been agreed between industry and training agencies, including trainee positions in the areas of:

  • Software Development
  • Medical Devices
  • Financial Services
  • Accountancy
  • Logistics and
  • Hospitality

Further positions are also being considered from a total of 86 possible schemes which were identified by the Apprenticeship Council.


The CareersPortal Team