Kirby is proud of its people-first approach, which has seen many of its top team grow their careers with the company. It’s this approach that has seen us invest heavily in growing the next generation of engineering talent, with more than 200 apprentices currently employed.
Cathal Hanley joined Kirby in 2019 as an Electrical Apprentice after a term with the Irish Army. He is now in his fourth year and hopes he will complete his apprenticeship next year. He speaks to us as part of this #PeopleFirst from site in Galway.
Cathal is part of the team delivering a project for a healthcare technology company. We ask what it’s like working on site, “You can really see the difference you are making. Once we strip out the rooms, we can start to put them back together, charting our progress against the drawings. It’s a completely different experience to being in the army. I spent a lot of time exercising, and although you knew you were keeping yourself fit and ready, there wasn’t the same ability to chart your progress – like there is on site.”
Kirby’s apprenticeship programme runs alongside SOLAS, with apprentices released for college-based learning throughout their training.
“COVID-19 delayed the college aspect of the apprenticeship, but I don’t mind. I really enjoy it on site. The team has been amazing and have so much time for me. They are all really invested in my learning. Clive in maintenance, for example. I asked for some advice the other day and he spent 30 minutes with me, talking it through. He isn’t my manager, and doesn’t have responsibility for my learning, but he took the time.
“I am looked after by the Site Supervisor, Electrical Site Manager, and Project Manager. They have all really invested in me and my learning. At Kirby a lot of the people around you have been in your shoes, and they are genuinely keen to make sure you become the best Electrician you can be,” adds Cathal, who grew up in nearby Oranmore, Galway.
Cathal decided to retrain after breaking his leg in a motorbike accident, “I knew I couldn’t go on forever. I joined the army at 17 after my Leaving Cert, I learnt a lot, took loads of courses, and travelled.” Cathal spent six months abroad with the army, as well as travelling across Ireland to undertake training courses.
Kirby was one of three choices, when he decided to learn a trade. For him though, Kirby and an Electrical Apprenticeship were the first choice. “I like working with my hands, and seeing the progress that I am making. I have always been intrigued by how things worked, and Kirby has an excellent reputation, so that’s the decision I made.”
He enjoyed travelling with the army and said that was one reasons he looked to Kirby’s apprenticeship programme, “I am very happy here in Galway, but could travel with Kirby in the future, if I wanted to. It’s good to have working abroad as an option.”
Working in Galway has allowed Cathal to keep supporting his local hurling team with training sessions for younger players. “I can’t play sport anymore, after several injuries, but I like to keep my hand in, and it’s good to give back to the younger players.”
To find out more about careers at Kirby go to https://careers.kirbygroup.com/.