Having worked from a young age in an optical lab manufacturing lenses and making spectacles, I had always liked the idea of working with my hands. I worked in an optical lab for 13 years, some part-time and some full-time and really enjoyed the satisfaction that came with production and having an end product.
Like many young people, I went off to Australia for a year at the age of 26, and it really was the making of me as a person. When I returned to Ireland I wanted a change as I wasn’t yet 30 years old and optical lab work was all I had done, so I applied for the Irish Prison Service. I got through my training and worked then in a work and training prison where I saw the workshops and how much people got from that form of work.
After working shift work, unpredictable hours and feeling like I wasn’t achieving my potential I made the tough decision at 37 years of age to take the leap into an apprenticeship. While searching for the one that felt right I came across Dublin Aerospace and researched the M.A.M.F. apprenticeship, deciding it felt right for me. I started in October 2018 and just qualified in December 2022 as a Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitter and work in the machine shop in Dublin Aerospace’s Landing Gear facility.
My typical day involves installing new or repaired bushings into landing gear parts for overhaul. Some of these parts may need reaming or honing to be brought to the correct sizes in order to build the gear again.
I enjoy using machines like lathes, mills or grinders.
My role involves lots of maths, reading manuals, using machinery, using hand tools, a keen eye for detail and high standards of work produced. You also must be a team player.
The people. All my colleagues are qualified in their trades and are always willing to help, passing on their knowledge and skills acquired over their years of experience in the industry.
Strong-minded, team player and open to learning new skills.
Put the work in and you’ll reap what you sow. I would advise someone starting their career to be a sponge when it comes to people passing on their knowledge and carve out their own path. Decide what type of person/employee you want to be and work towards that.