Instrumentation Career Entry Routes
What is Instrumentation?
Instrumentation involves the maintenance and repair of all instruments used in the measurement and control of process variables (e.g. in the chemical industry to measure and control the temperature, pressure and flow, as appropriate, in various points of the process). Technicians carry out the installation, maintenance and calibration of measuring instruments, sensors, transmitting and controlling devices and systems associated with the measurement, control and protection of physical quantities found across many industries. The measurement and control of these quantities enables products to be produced to specification, taking account of the safety of personnel, plant and equipment and the protection of the environment.
What does a CalX Instrumentation Technician do?
CalX Instrumentation Technicians work across Chemical, Food Processing, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Petro-Chemical, Local Authority (Water and Sanitation) sectors and with the contractors and manufacturers allied to these industries. Our technicians work on systems involving pneumatic, electrical, electro-mechanical, electronic, micro-processor and computer-based equipment with an increasing emphasis on computer/micro-processor based equipment. As such our technicians have a broad skill range as well as a high level of technical knowledge in the areas of physics, chemistry, computers and engineering.
Being physically active and able to work with your hands is important for CalX Instrumentation Technicians. An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail. Our Instrumentation Technicians must be able to:
• Plan and organise.
• Communicate effectively.
• Solve problems.
• Work independently and as part of a team.
• Show a positive attitude.
• Recognise the need for good customer relations.
• Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness.
Interested in a Study/Work placement at CalX?
Study/Work placements at CalX
CalX Instrumentation Services Ltd provides and sponsors work placement phases for the Bachelor of Science in Process Instrumentation &
Automation course in the Technological University Dublin as part of our instrumentation career entry routes.
- Level 7
- 3 Years Programme (Work + Learn)
- Applicants will have their course fees for the entire course duration paid for by Irish Medtech Skillnet
- Applicants will be paid by Employer during the work placement
What does the Bachelor of Science in Process Instrumentation & Automation involve?
This programme combines taught modules with blocks of work placement.
- September – January: College (years 1, 2 & 3)
- January – May: Working with the employer 4 days per week (years 1, 2 & 3)
- May – September: Working with employer 5 days per week (years 1, 2 & 3)
Thanks to the work experience, you’ll get the chance to apply your learning, be coached by industry experts and develop the practical, work-ready skills you’ll need for full-time employment.
You’ll enjoy a mix of theory and practical learning, including sessions in on-campus laboratories equipped with real-world equipment and software used in industry. Subjects include Instrumentation, Electro‑Technology, Industrial Automation and Energy Management.
While enrolled in this course each year you’ll complete five months (Sept – Jan) full-time study followed by seven months of paid work placement with an employer such as CalX, while continuing to attend one day a week on campus.
Learn + Work: TU Dublin & CalX
CalX directors, Willie McMahon and Kevin Davis talk about the important role the Process Instrumentation and Automation course in TU Dublin Blanchardstown plays in the industry and what students placed with CalX can expect.
Work + Learn students Joy Tierney and Evan Henry also talk about their experience of the course and an average working day with CalX.
Joy - Second Year TUD study/work placement
My name is Joy and I’m a second-year student in TUD Blanchardstown studying Process Instrumentation & Automation. This is a relatively new course as my year is only the second year of admissions to the course, and there haven’t yet been any graduates from the course yet. Before I heard about the instrumentation trade, I had been working in a factory and was looking for a new job when a friend of mine told me that a company called CalX was hiring apprentices. The company is based in Kells which is very close to where I live.
I thought it was a no brainer to at least send my CV. I was invited for an informal interview with Kevin and Willie, two directors of the company. It was a short process, just talking about my previous work/study history and to be honest I was unprepared, and I had minimal knowledge on what instrumentation was as I had never heard about it before. Shortly after this, I had a formal interview with Kevin, Willie and Claire, all three directors of CalX. After being successful in the interview, I was offered a position in August 2019. I initially started with CalX with the intention of doing the apprenticeship but shortly after starting I was told about the course in Blanchardstown. After a trial period of 2 weeks, I was asked would I prefer to do the Instrumentation Apprenticeship or to do this new course in Blanchardstown. I did a lot of research into both options and I decided to go with the Blanchardstown course as it seemed the better option.
It was three years instead of the four years for an apprenticeship and was a level 7 whereas the apprenticeship is a level 6. It also meant I would be getting a lot of practical experience. I then had to complete an aptitude test and interview for the course in Blanchardstown. I worked with CalX for about six weeks before starting the first semester of college. During the first semester I worked most Saturdays with CalX and learned a lot about CompuCal, the software they use for scheduling calibrations.
After passing my first semester exams in January 2020 I went back to work four days per week with CalX with one day in college until May. Then I worked full time from May until the end of August/beginning of September and then went back to Blanchardstown for my second year. The course has the same layout for each year, with half working and half studying in college. When I started with CalX, I was mainly shadowing engineers and learning from what they were doing and learning how to create and enter calibration certificates but recently I’ve been given a lot more responsibility on jobs and have been sent to jobs on my own to complete calibrations/certs. I really enjoy working with CalX, because as contractors, we get to work in a lot of different settings like pharmaceutical plants, medical device, dairy, food processing and this makes the job very interesting.
Evan - Second Year TUD study/work placement
My name is Evan and I’m currently studying Instrumentation and Automation in TUD Blanchardstown. As part of the degree, I carry out work placement for seven months of each year. That is really what appealed to me about the course and what made me apply. I like the idea of spending half the time in college with lectures and spending the other half out in the field gaining experience.
I was employed as a work rider for a show jumper before I started the course and while that’s something I really enjoy doing, I wanted to have an engineering degree so I could work in that area alongside buying and selling horses which is my goal. I heard about the course through my friend, Joy as she was already working with a company who did Instrumentation and Automation. That company was CalX.
Working with CalX has benefitted me in many ways. I have learned many skills and qualities that will stay with me my whole life. Skills such as working as part of a team, communication skills, IT skills, and most importantly hands-on practical skills. After graduating from this degree, I’ll have the option to continue studying, maybe to go teaching, or I could finish with the level 7 degree.
Having done 21 months of work placement by the time we finish the course means we will be much more employable after graduating. If I did a normal degree in engineering with no work placement, I wouldn’t have as much experience and I think this would be less appealing to an employer.
Applications for Bachelor of Science in Process Instrumentation & Automation course in the Technological University Dublin are made through the CAO but if you’re interested in applying for this course get in touch with us to discuss the possibility of a work placement with CalX during your studies.
For more information on the course visit the TUD Bachelor of Science in Process Instrumentation & Automation course page.
Interested in a CalX Instrumentation Apprenticeship?
Instrumentation Apprenticeships at CalX
What does the CalX Instrumentation Technician Apprenticeship involve?
The CalX Instrumentation Apprenticeship Programme is one of our instrumentation career entry routes. It’s a paid 4 year training programme involving on-the-job training and college placements. The on-the-job training will include working on a number of sites across the island of Ireland covering multiple industries. As a CalX Instrumentation Technician Apprentice, you will:
• Learn and develop new practical technical skills, knowledge and competence.
• Work with and learn from experienced Technicians.
• Work with electricity and electronics.
• Comply with Health and Safety requirements.
• Use mathematics to solve technical or scientific problems.
• Be responsible for controlling or adjusting equipment.
• Work on machines/processes.
• Understand technical drawings and diagrams.
• Be accurate with an attention to detail.
• Be accurate with numbers in counting, measuring and arithmetic.
• Keep accurate records of all calibrations or reports.
• Be well organised and careful with practical tasks.
• Take responsibility for your own learning, including the allocation of study time.
• Be physically active.
• Work with a variety of specialised hand tools, power tools and equipment.
• Pass all your phase exams (theory, practical skills demonstration).
• Spend phased placements in college throughout the programme.
• Earn as you learn.
The apprenticeship programme involves 7 phases over 4 years. Phases 1, 3, 5 and 7 involve on the job training while Phases 2, 4 and 6 are college placements in Cork and Carlow. Progression through the apprenticeship programme depends on the successful completion of each phase along with all college exams. As well as earning while they learn, our apprentices receive expenses and many have a company vehicle.
Upon successful completion of my apprenticeship what will I be qualified to do?
At the successful end of your apprenticeship you will be awarded a National Craft Certificate in Instrumentation which is at Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and as a CalX Instrumentation Technician you will be able to demonstrate competence in the following skills:
• Installation, maintenance and calibration of process measurement and control equipment.
• Installation and maintenance of protection and safety shut-down systems in the process industry.
Specialist Skills – Installation and maintenance of:
• First-up Systems.
• Shut Down Systems.
• Analytical Instrumentation.
• Weighing Systems.
• Vibration Monitoring.
• Data and Scada Systems.
• Information Gathering and Logging Systems.
• Communications and Teamwork.
• Report Writing.
• Information Gathering.
• Planning and Problem Solving.
• Quality Assurance.
• Analytical ability.
• Manual Dexterity.
What do I need to become a CalX Instrumentation Technician Apprentice?
Minimum entry requirements for our apprenticeship programme are as follows:
• You must be 18 years of age or above.
• You must have achieved Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate or an approved equivalent, or
• Have successfully completed an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course or
• Have three years’ work experience gained since you were over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS deems acceptable.
• You must also have a full clean driving licence.
It should be noted that these are the current approved minimum educational requirements for our apprenticeship programme, however, though not essential, previous experience/knowledge of the following subjects would be an advantage: Mathematics, Technology, Technical Drawing/Graphics and Physics.
How do I apply?
If you meet the minimum requirements:
• Email us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• If you are called for an interview and are successful you will be required to complete pre-work training in policies, procedures and Health & Safety.
• Once all these have been completed successfully you will be enrolled as an apprentice and your training will commence.
Some of our apprentice engineers discuss their training.
Some of our Study/Work placements discuss their courses and placements at CalX