25 years keeping buses on the road as first female mechanic at Dublin Bus

Marie Beegan, the first female mechanic in Dublin Bus, has spent the last 25 years forging an impressive career in Dublin Bus. As Executive in Charge of the Training Centre, located in Phibsboro Depot, Dublin, Marie uses her wealth of knowledge and skills to train newly appointed bus drivers, and ensure they are fully qualified before they take to the streets in Dublin Bus’ iconic blue and yellow double decker buses.

Marie’s path to Dublin Bus was not so traditional. In school she was encouraged to go to college and look for a profession that was “more suited” to a woman like teaching or nursing. However, her love of fixing things led her down what was considered an unconventional path at the time to an apprenticeship.

Proving people wrong

She was discouraged by many from applying for something that was seen as a ‘man’s job’, but according to Marie, “when I was told that I shouldn’t do it I wanted to prove people wrong”. She was told it would be too physical and too difficult for a woman, but Marie persisted and began a four year apprenticeship in 1980.

In 2018, Marie is still the only female mechanic in Dublin Bus although her current role is less focused on fixing engines and more focused on training safe and reliable bus drivers. Her career progression to date proves that an apprenticeship can open many doors, as Marie moved from her apprenticeship as a mechanic through a number of office roles before becoming a depot manager and moving into her current role.

Level 6 qualification

When asked about some of the misconceptions that surround apprenticeships, Marie acknowledged that there are a few. “I don’t think people realise that you obtain a QQI level 6 qualification when you complete your apprenticeship. And that the qualification is nationally and internationally recognised. You also have the chance to earn a wage while you are learning and training.”

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for people to learn valuable and practical skills while training in a professional, working environment.

According to Marie, one of the most valuable skills that she learned from her apprenticeship was the ability to identify a problem and come up with a solution for it. Learning to work as a part of team was a huge part of her training, and a skill that she uses every day in her current role.

If you are considering choosing an apprenticeship as a career path then Marie has a bit of advice for you; “Speak to people who have done an apprenticeship and make an informed decision. Like anything new it will take a couple of months to settle in, but it is such an exciting experience and it’s a great opportunity for you to learn new skills.” But Marie’s most valuable piece of advice is if you are passionate about something you should pursue it.

Passionate young people

Dublin Bus is always on the lookout for passionate and driven young people to join their apprenticeship program.

The application process for the Heavy Vehicle Mechanic Apprenticeship Programme runs from the end of February to the end of March every year. For more information on the Dublin Bus apprenticeship programme please contact Claire Byrne at claire.byrne@dublinbus.ie.

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