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 Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!


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Hint: CRH plc

Guidance Councellor.

The Guidance Councellor in my secondary school directed me towards engineering after he examined my aptitude results in science and maths.

He encouraged me to apply for a course in Sligo I.T. as he believed it to be a good course with great opportunities.

My Grandfather

My grandfather was a Quarry Manager who worked with Roadstone for 30 years in Donegal. He encouraged me to do engineering and always allowed me to be involved in hands on jobs on his farm. He influenced me in my decision to apply for a job with Irish Cement as he believes that CRH are an excellent company to work for.

He has guided me in my career decisions so far.

My Mentor

Irish Cement runs a mentoring scheme in both its plants. My mentor has been paramount in my desicions regarding my career so far and has given me excellent advice. He has encouaged me to focus on my long term goals and has guided me through minor issues. He continues to advise me as my career advances.

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