My Story: 'The real learning happened while carrying out tasks'
Daniel Soden Traineeship, Monaghan Institute
When Daniel Soden left school, he was keen to combine college classes with hands-on experience that could lead to concrete career opportunities in the engineering manufacturing sector.
The former pupil of The Royal School, Cavan started an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Traineeship with Combilift, Co Monaghan, the largest global manufacturer of forklifts. The traineeship is run by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) at Monaghan Institute.
The one-year, Level 5 programme is an example of the growing trend towards a work-based learning approach to qualifications. This one involves 11 weeks in Combilift, in blocks of two/three weeks, and 27 weeks in college. Combilift trainees are paid €100 a week for the nine months of the course.
Daniel, who hails from Scotstown, Co Monaghan, covered topics and skills including engineering and manufacturing processes, fabrication, welding, electrics, electronics and health and safety.
He says "it was good to learn the theory behind these processes and to watch practical demonstrations, but for me the real learning happened when I was actually carrying out the various tasks, when it all came together for me."
Over the year, Daniel completed 10 placements in different work areas at Combilift, which, he says, gave a really good understanding of the stages that go into manufacturing a Combilift truck from start to finish.
He joined the company at a time of massive expansion and Daniel and all others who completed the traineeship in 2017 were offered a full-time job with Combilift, which opened a new €50m facility this year.
"I'm looking forward to my future with the company and to develop my expertise even further," he says.
In the past year he has been promoted to work on a state-of-the-art, Peddinghaus multi-function plasma cutter. He describes it as "an amazing, powerful piece of equipment, which can take 90mm sheets of steel and drill, tap and countersink holes in just minutes, compared to the weeks it used to take to process by subcontractors."
This is one of a number of traineeships available in ETBs across the country. While apprenticeships spend up to four years in training, traineeships vary in length from nine months to two years.