As a leading mechanical and electrical engineering contractor, Kirby Group Engineering is conscious of its responsibility to nurture a diverse workforce and proactively create an inclusive atmosphere in each of its offices and sites in Ireland and across Europe.
Operating in what was traditionally a male-dominated industry, Kirby has long been improving its gender balance across its operations. Last year the family-founded firm launched a third level bursary scheme designed to support female students through their engineering studies.
Recipients benefitted from a full scholarship for the academic year, a paid placement on a Kirby project, professional mentorship and the opportunity to become a Kirby ambassador at their third level institution.
The company’s graduate and apprentice programmes are an ideal way to build diversity in the initial stages of working with the company, given Kirby’s proud history of apprentices rising through the ranks to the very highest level of management.
Dublin woman Amy Delaney began her apprenticeship with Kirby last October. She had originally planned to go to college once she finished school. However, discussing her options with her dad who is an electrician opened her eyes to the possibilities of a trade career.
Six months in, she’s sure she made the right choice. “It’s even better than I expected. I thought that going out on site would be intimidating. But I’ve actually met loads of lovely people, they’ve been so nice and helpful. I work closely with a trained electrician who shows me how to do the jobs and then I get to work away under supervision. I’m loving it so far.”
Amy says she likes the variety of the course, which takes a minimum of four years to complete. “We’re mostly on site but then we go back into the classroom to learn more theory. I like the mix of different content, it’s good to have a variety.”
A career with Kirby offers the chance to experience their operations across Ireland and Europe but Amy says she hasn’t thought that far ahead yet. ‘Being a qualified electrician is my goal for now anyway, when I get to that point I’ll be very happy!’
Kirby currently has 206 electrical, instrumentation, mechanical and sheet metal working apprentices working across its business – and the firm promises candidates excellent technical training, graduated practical work challenges, superb coaching and mentoring, along with quality personal development and support.
Amy would love to see more women taking on apprenticeships and is keen to spread the word. “I’m going back to my school in May to give a speech about my experience and I’ll be encouraging girls to do apprenticeships – there are so many opportunities it can bring – it’s brilliant.”
For more details on Kirby’s Apprenticeship or Graduate programmes, go to careers.kirby.com