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 Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Related Career Sectors

Clerical & Administration Clerical & Administration

Administrative and Secretarial Occupations

Key points for selected Administrative and Secretarial Occupations

  • In 2014, there were approximately 152,000 persons employed in administrative and secretarial occupations, accounting for 7.9% of Ireland’s workforce (Figure 9.14.1)
  • Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment in the selected occupations contracted by 2.8% on average annually, with the 2014 overall employment level 23,000 below the 2009 level (175,000); however, since 2012, employment has been increasing, reversing the downward trend recorded since the beginning of the recession
  • Over the five-year period, employment decreased in all occupations (excluding records & library clerks and office managers & supervisors); the fastest rates of decline were observed for government administrative occupations (7.3% on average annually) and PAs & other secretaries (4.2% on average annually); the most significant absolute decline was observed for government administrative occupations (16,500) and PAs & other secretaries (7,000) (Figure 9.14.2)
  • Between 2013 and 2014, overall employment expanded by 3.1%, with 4,500 net additional jobs created; the strongest increases (rates and levels) was observed for other administrators and office managers & supervisors; the decline in employment levels for government administrative occupations stabilised
  • At least 70% of those employed in each occupation was aged 25-54; the workforce of PAs & other secretaries was the most mature, with one quarter aged 55 or older; in contrast, it was the youngest for receptionists, with 11% younger than 25
  • With the exception of records & library clerks and office managers & supervisors, the share of persons employed in each occupation who were third level graduates was below the national average
  • At least 70% of persons employed in each occupation was female
  • The share of persons in part-time employment was the highest for receptionists (at 45%) and PAs & other secretaries (at 40%).

Shortage Indicators

In 2014, vacancies for administrative and secretarial roles were numerous. Many vacancies were arising due to replacement demand (5,500 transitions to inactivity were identified for general clerks in 2014) and turnover (9,000 transitions between employers).

There were also over 10,000 job ready general clerks looking for work in May 2015.

In addition, over 5,000 students graduated from FET courses in business and administration in 2014. Supply is estimated to be sufficient to meet the recruitment requirement and no shortages exist at present.

Labour Market Research 19

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Vacancy Overview 2015 - EGFSN May 2016 
A report produced by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs contextualising 2015 vacancy data with what is occurring in the Irish labour market
Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in the Hospitality Sector in Ireland 2015-2020 
Report from the EGFSN assessing the skills demand within the Hospitality sector in Ireland to 2020 to ensure the right supply of skills to help drive domestic hospitality sector business and employment growth.
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2015 
Annual report produced by the EGFSN which identifies variations in skills supply and demand across 8 regions (Border, Dublin, Mid East, Mid-West, Midland, South East, South West and West).
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply 
July 2015 report on those entering and leaving the Irish education system (primary, post-primary,further education and training, and higher education) spanning the ten levels of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
Vacancy Overview 2014 - EFGSN 
The Vacancy Overview 2014 produced May 2015 by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS on behalf of the EGFSN, draws on data from newly advertised job vacancies in the following sources: DSP Jobs Ireland and The analysis focuses
Addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics Sector in Ireland 2015 – 2020 
February 2015 EGFSN report assessing the skills and competency requirements for the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland up to 2020
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2014 
Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market
Research Unit in SOLAS aimed at providing an analysis of the key labour market indicators for each of Ireland’s eight administrative
regions: Border, Dublin, Mid-East, Midland, Mid-West, South-East, South-
Assessing the Demand for Big Data and Analytics Skills 2013 - 2020 
May 2014 EGFSN report identifying measures to build up the Big Data and analytics talent pool in Ireland over the period up to 2020 in line with enterprise demand.
EGFSN - Report for HE Providers on Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme 
February 2014 Report "Guidance for Higher Education providers on current and future skills needs of enterprise - Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme"
Addressing Future Demand for High-level ICT Skills (EGFSN) 
Study forecasting the demand for high-level ICT skills to 2018, across all sectors of the economy in Ireland.
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Current Labour Market Info 4

These sites provide news of current events that relate to our evolving labour market.

IBEC Quarterly Economic Trends 
Download publication in PDF format.
SCSI Employment Opportunities & Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying 2014-18 
New report April 2014 from SCSI outlining the Employment Opportunities and Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying projected from 2014-2018
Shortage of craft/entry level staff in the Hotel Sector 
Hotels and guesthouses are experiencing serious difficulties recruiting suitably qualified craft/entry level staff - IHF Annual Conference 24/2/14
National Skills Bulletin 2015 
The National Skills Bulletin 2015 provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, drawing on a variety of data sets, which have been systematically gathered in the National Skills Database (NSD) since 2003.

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