For Fergus Barry, Group Head of Human Resources, and Kevin Nolan, Talent Acquisition Manager for Kirby Group Engineering becoming an engineer is only the beginning of a prosperous career.
Recruit Ireland spoke the Kirby Group Engineering on what they look for in a star Kirby Group Engineer, the future of engineering, and what they’re doing to recruit more females within the sector.
According to Fergus Barry and Kevin Nolan, the key traits they look for when recruiting are those who demonstrate a history of working on a multifaceted project, from the early stages to the very end of a project. They look for those who can multitask and prioritize workloads in a high pressured environment as well as those who can work well as a team, have an attention to detail, are eager to learn, work hard, problem solve and build long term relationships, “That’s the culture we drive,” said Kevin.
“Engineering is the application of science to everyday problems,” said Fergus, so in terms are what attracts people to engineering, for Kirby, it’s the people who enjoy taking an analytical and methodical approach to problems and enjoy going about solving them scientifically. When Kirby is recruiting they look at those who take things apart and are interested in how things work, “Every engineer I know there’s that attraction towards building something better and that makes a difference for society,” said Fergus.
When asked about the future of engineering, especially during a pandemic, Kirby takes a positive view, “nothing holds science back,” said Fergus. “In fact, our projects are getting bigger and more complex as technology is driven forward. Therefore the requirement for engineers is going up and up,” Fergus continued.
“Historically the main value in terms of a commodity was once oil. Now there has been a massive shift in recent years where the value is heavily weighted on data. As a result a lot of the “.com” organisations are now heavily investing on their data centre infrastructure, that in its own right comes with various different complexities from an engineering stance, in terms of how we go about designing this and installing it, commissioning it, maintaining it. Engineering is a solution that’s viably efficient for the end-user. There’s a huge drive for engineers to work in those types of sectors and they’ll always have opportunities for progression.“ Kevin added. With data centers as well as a surge in terms of improving cleanroom environments, extensions, or new builds for pharmaceutical facilities to combat the need for medical equipment or drugs, there’s no shortage of work within the engineering sector. “There’s a huge surge within the overall industry that Kirby is pinpointing themselves on getting involved in from an engineering point of view,” Kevin said.
Kirby is also taking the initiative to try and recruit more females within their organisation. Currently, the CSO estimates that only 5.5% of the workforce across all construction-related sectors are women. Kirby has been specifically targeting a female audience to join their apprenticeship programme to be trained as electricians or mechanical professionals. They have also collaborated with Technical University Dublin to promote the attractiveness to the sector from a male-dominated industry to an everyone-dominated industry. Kirby is taking part in many initiatives both internally and collaboratively externally to make for a more gender-balanced organisation and sector. “We now have a lot of successful, high-performance female engineers, I don’t think there’s anything better than the real role model who’s really progressing through their career,” added Fergus. “We have some excellent engineers who are absolute role models,” he continued.
Kirby Group Engineering is expanding its team across Ireland and Mainland Europe, with over fifty percent of business in Northern Europe in places such as Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, and Switzerland with an explicit strategy, “they’re all very well developed countries that are good to work in and have very high standards which are great for young people who want to develop as international professionals,” said Fergus.
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