Here are the questions you asked our panel of people who work in the medical devices sector in Ireland.
Sarah Jane Lye (Creganna-Tactx Medical): When I had completed my BSc Degree in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis I began applying for jobs in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and obtained a role in Boston Scientific, Galway.
I worked there for over three years in the areas of technical writing and validations and gained a great knowledge in the manufacture of medical devices.
I had a real interest in the design of medical devices, so when an opportunity arose to be part of the Design Services department in Creganna-Tactx Medical, I jumped at the chance.
I have been working as a Design Engineer for nearly three years and really enjoy my work. I get to work with many talented individuals and customers from all over the world on a daily basis.
With new devices constantly being designed there is always something new to develop and test and each day brings something different to challenge me.
In medical device companies, certain roles will require a minimum education standard; this must be achieved before getting to interview.
An applicant for a job needs to display enthusiasm for the role by knowing about the company and the role he/she is applying for. Have your background information on the organisation prepared, and if you are lucky enough, talk to someone already working for the organisation to gather up more information.
Previous relevant experience is important, but not all important. I would prefer to hire a good character with limited experience that a well-experienced person about whom I have my doubts.
Jenny Navan (CPL): Without being vague, it very much so depends on the job that you’re applying for. In general, the main thing employers look for is a good grade from the degree, and evidence of a good work ethic.
If you’ve a choice between two graduates with the same degree and results, a candidate who can display good team-working skills, a good work ethic and good communication skills is going to be the first choice for the job, over the graduate who’s never worked before.
Join team sports or team based clubs while in college, try to secure a part-time job, ideally relevant to the degree (but if not no harm), and get involved in organisations that can help you develop your own personal skills.
All of the skills you learn through these are transferrable to all kinds of jobs and are very desirable to employers.
Paul Martin: First impressions – see my answer above on enthusiasm.
Anyone who slouches into an interview will never get the job. Be enthusiastic in both your speech and your body language. I have occasionally made a decision on a person by the way they walk across the foyer to greet me.
Be realistic about what you have done and what you haven’t. If you were not in charge of something, don’t claim to have been in charge. It gives a bad impression to make excessively lofty claims in your CV.
Most employers will select on a combination of your education and experience and on your character. If you are qualified from both an educational and experiential point of view, then you need to be yourself in the interview.
Be honest and straightforward and be sure to pay attention to all the interviewers – don’t just concentrate on one.
Paul Martin: If someone embarks on a Mechanical Engineering degree, the assumption is that they want to work fixing machines. This is a limited view however. People with this degree have started out operating and fixing machines, but have blossomed into supervisors and team leaders, or have moved into facility management or project management.
Paul Martin: Most employers will have performance management metrics that will tell them who are the high achievers, and who are not.
Based on those metrics, and also on the type of role available, employers will seek to promote at the appropriate time. It is in the employer’s interest to promote internally when appropriate, as this will keep employees engaged and stimulate further good performance.
If you wish to be in the running for promotion, you need to put in the hard yards, long hours and drive to achieve objectives. You should also manufacture opportunities to talk to the decision makers within the organisation.
Sarah Jane Lye: Ireland is one of the leading global medical devices industry centres, with many companies choosing to set up their research and development departments here.
There are many medical device companies and pharmaceutical companies operating throughout Ireland, with a large amount of these based in the West.
In the last few years more and more attention has been placed on companies in this sector, as they are gradually expanding their facilities and setting up more R&D departments.
Although the recession has hit many areas, the medical device sector continues to prosper and has only been slightly affected by the downturn.
Companies have had to reorganise to improve their efficiency and service but the R&D area has continued to grow as more treatments and medical devices are being developed for the treatment and prevention of diseases.
As you have stated in your question there is new growth in med tech, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors and I believe this will certainly lead to more R&D jobs in the coming years.
With continued attention being drawn to the medical device and pharmaceutical sectors by the media, and initiatives such as the Smart Futures campaign, more people (in particular students) are being made aware of the opportunities available in this industry, which may lead to a greater interest in this area throughout Ireland.