‘It gave me the chance to get an education and it is practical’
Further education profile: Gary McCaffrey, engineering at Monaghan Institute
Gary McCaffrey: “It is very interesting learning stuff in college and then going out and seeing how it actually works.”
What did you study and where?
I studied a one-year engineering course at Monaghan Institute. The course is run in conjunction with Combilift with time split between the college and the factory.
Why did you choose a further education course?
I had applied for a course in engineering in Dundalk IT and got the points for that. I sort of chose this one because it is close to home. I’m from a farming background and I wanted to stay close to home. I like that it gave me the chance to get an education and it is practical as well. I knew this was for me.
What has been the highlight?
You get a knowledge of engineering and then there is the practical part working on the line and helping to build the machines. You get swapped around to different parts in the factory so you get different experiences. Two of the people teaching the course work in Combilift too they gave good advice and support. The practical side really suited me.
What did you find challenging?
I wouldn’t have known the general engineering, the theory part of it but the tutors helped to explain it to you. The maths and measurements and drawing – I was starting that from scratch on that for this course.
What would you advise anyone thinking of doing a further education course?
If you like doing practical work I would advise you to do this course. You are doing things as well as learning and you’re not in the books the whole time. It is very interesting learning stuff in college and then going out and seeing how it actually works.
What’s next for you?
After the nine months of the course I was employed by Combilift. They look at your results after the course and you have a meeting. I had to do 11 months probation and then I was called in for a meeting again. I was sort of nervous for it’s a big company and quality is important. The managers and employees are really helpful. I’m happy and enjoying the work. You can ask to do different jobs and help other people and you can progress up through.