Sean MacKessy, an Airfield Electrical Supervisor, is a current apprentice on the Level 7 Electrical Apprenticeship in Industrial Electrical Engineering.
The apprenticeship programme is run by TU Tallaght in partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology and is specifically designed as a progression programme for Qualified Electricians who wish to upskill and to acquire advanced knowledge.
Why did you pursue a career as an electrician?
I was always interested in becoming an Electrician, so I set about finding myself an apprenticeship. I sent out CV’s to various companies and got my start that way. I knew that the work of an electrician was interesting and that there were several different career paths I could take once I was qualified. I always wanted to be an electrician and I think I chose my career well. My favourite thing about my job is that no two days are the same.
Why did you decide to take on the Electrical Apprenticeship and up skill?
During my career, I have spent eight years in construction/contracting and fifteen years in the airport industry working within a maintenance department. I have learned so much during that time, but I believe in career progression and lifelong learning. This apprenticeship enables me to keep my options open if I decide to look for another job opportunity or career progression within my company. I would like to think that by completing this degree my career will become even more interesting than it already is.
What does this new apprenticeship involve?
It involves one full day attending university during the week in TU Tallaght, and lots of hard work and study. It also involves managing assignments to be submitted on time and to a high standard. Preparation for exams is also very important and involves a lot of study. But it is all worth it and I would definitely recommend this apprenticeship if you are an electrician looking to up skill and become an electrical engineer. Be prepared to work on the maths which was by far the biggest challenge for the class, the basics are important, so putting the work in early to get the foundation right is worth it. Spread out the work load on assignment and don’t leave them to the end when you have exams coming up.
Is it difficult to find work/life balance while completing this apprenticeship?
The day release works well with work/life balance, as opposed to having to attend classes three evenings a week. It of course adds extra pressure to get the working week done in 4 days, but our managers are aware we are stretched and understand that we prioritise more of our work load each week. Time management is a big focus with college and work.
How are you enjoying the apprenticeship?
The first year has been challenging and enjoyable. Overall the lecturers are engaged and willing to help us in areas that we need help in, which is much appreciated. Extra classes are provided for revision coming up to exam time which is invaluable. The apprenticeship has been an amazing experience and has given me great skills which I can directly bring into my workplace and apply in my day to day work.
What advice would you have for a young person starting out in a trade?
Listen to experienced staff, work hard, be punctual, have a good attitude. Treat everyone with respect, and don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to learn. Most importantly – “Be SAFE”. If it doesn’t feel safe, then it isn’t safe.
For more information on the Level 7 Electrical Apprenticeship in Industrial Electrical Engineering, please contact IndElecEng@it-tallaght.ie