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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 Elaine McGarrigle from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:
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.
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Liam Doyle, Hotel Manager
Liam Doyle is the Manager of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. After his Leaving Cert. he began his studies as a Mechanical Engineer in the IT in Carlow, but quickly changed to a Training Manager Hotel Program with CERT (now Failte Ireland). He has gained great experience through working with different hotel groups and through additional training courses throughout the world.
I think the hotel industry is very team driven. Any individual who is successful at a team event, whether it is in sports or whatever, there’s a good chance that the hotel industry may suit you. Everything we do is in teams. That’s really what I got out of school, more than anything.
In addition, being good at numbers - maths, is fairly essential for everything we do, regardless of what industry you are in. Its something that I personally enjoyed over the years. When I was in school we didn’t use calculators so being able to do things in your head was important, something I’m very lucky I can still do.
I went to Colaiste Lorcáin in Castledermot where I spent five years for the Leaving Cert. I then went to IT Carlow to study to be a Mechanical Engineer, and hated it.
From there, I was lucky enough to be chosen for a Training Manager Development program with (now) Failte Ireland. I received my degree after four years.
From then I did a multitude of different courses, from Cornell University in the US to all the various in-house training programs, in the Hilton, Ritz-Carlton or Marriott.
I took honours Engineering, honours Physics, and honours Chemistry. The other subject I had was Technical Drawing.
If I was to do it again, I would do French and Home Economics, and the Engineering because it did help me in this role, and probably Business. I would take more on the finance side if I knew I was taking this route.
Very much so, absolutely, it’ll continue to be ongoing. I’m looking in 2008 or 2009 to further my education with the Aspen Institute, the world renowned Business School. Those modules vary in their length of time, usually they’re block modules for a couple of weeks. Most industry leaders will have spent some time at the Aspen Institute.
That’s just one example, education doesn’t stop, especially when you work for a large company. We tend to be very strong in the education of our people, whether it’s the first step into the company or General Manager.