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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:
|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.
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Aoife Lyons, Occupational Psychologist
Aoife works as an Occupational Psychologist for the Public Appointments Service and is based in Dublin. After completing her primary degree, she completed her Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester. She is directly involved in the selecting and designing of aptitude tests for various roles in the Civil Service, and in interpreting the results of these.
For my Leaving Certificate I did the standard subjects and German, Geography, Biology and Business Studies. I knew quite early on that I didn't want to do Accountancy or anything that would require more than one science subject so I was able to study the subjects that I liked. There really isn't anything that I would have done differently.
After my Leaving Cert, I completed a degree in Occupational Psychology in the University of Ulster, Magee College. The degree has changed since I completed it, but at the time it was the only University that offered this specialism so that is why I went there. It was a three year degree, but I took a leave of absence for a year after my second year and went to the States to study Business Administration as part of the Business Education Initiative, sponsored by the British, Irish and American Governments.
On completion of my degree I did a Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester (UMIST). I am a member of both the British Psychological Society and the Psychological Society of Ireland, so Continuous Professional Development is very important and I try to consistently update my skills. I have completed a diploma in Employment Law, courses in Item Response Theory and other Statistical techniques, as well as attending a number of conferences and presenting at several others.
My first job was as a Consultant Occupational Psychologist, and as part of that job I did a number of courses that were required to do my job, including courses on Occupational Testing, the use of Personality Questionnaires, Job Analysis, Consultancy Skills and many others. As previously mentioned, to meet the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements set out for psychologists, I have to continuously update my skills. For example, I recently completed a course on Facilitation Skills delivered in house. The Public Appointments Service is very supportive of our training so I hope to keep upskilling while I work here.
I was very lucky in that my Degree and Masters were both very relevant to the work that I do now. If I had not done my Masters, I would not have been able to practice as a psychologist. In particular the modules that I did on recruitment and selection have been very valuable. I always enjoyed subjects where there was a practical element, for example where you had to carry out research projects. The skills that I learned I use on a daily basis.