I felt what I did throughout that year made an impact on the different projects I was assisting with, this gave me some self-gratification and helped me build confidence as a new engineer.
What does a typical day in your job involve?
I am part of a team that offers engineering support for project work so every day in my job is different, which is great. Every new project that I work on differs from the last and every day each project progresses a bit further, bringing about new actions and challenges for myself to undertake.
Typically I would be involved in the design, procurement, install/construction and commissioning of equipment/facilities so essentially the full life cycle of a project. Working as part of a design team for a project I help to define the initial design as well as help come up with solutions when the design requires a change during install/construction phase. Day to day I also manage contractors on-site who are working on my projects, ensuring good Health and Safety practices as well as ensuring the design is being followed. I am also involved in communicating progress and problems as they arise to the customer/client (relevant business unit). At the end of the install my job is to commission (test) the equipment/facilities, ensuring they are fit for purpose and meet the user’s requirements.
What type of exciting projects have you worked on?
Recently I was involved in the new Dundalk site, I helped the reconstruction and commissioning of Pharma services’ operational facilities in Dundalk. I also helped manage the design, construction and commissioning of the Quality Control lab in Dundalk for Pharma Services.
Currently I am involved in a few projects, one of which is an extension of Almac Sciences API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) manufacturing facility. This extension will provide a number of new reactor lines to help the manufacturing of API, with reactors bigger than any Almac Sciences have on site at the moment. I am responsible for delivering a Purified Water System, A conical dryer and centrifuge line to serve the building and reactor lines.
I am also heavily involved in an extension of B3, known as B3a, it is a new 2 storey lab facility which will be an extension of the current B3. I am responsible for delivering all engineering aspects of this facility to the client; from a design which meets their requirements to the construction and commissioning of the facility, ensuring that the business time lines are met. These labs will be used by chemists working on Biocatalysis and Peptide operations.
Did you know you always wanted to work in the Engineering field?
From a young age I knew I wanted to go into the STEM field, STEM subjects were what I enjoyed most at school. As I developed through school my 3 favourite subjects and subsequent A level choices were: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. This led me down the path of a degree in Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University. At the time of choosing a degree I had also considered Maths but I liked that Engineering had the more practical side so chose to go down that route. Almac have helped me further develop my engineering knowledge and skills and have helped reassure me that I made the right choice with engineering.
What type of other skills do you need for your job, other than educational qualifications?
Probably the most important skill in my job is communication. Communication is critical, Almac and its engineering team have a wealth of knowledge and experience that is a resource available to me which will help me develop further than education could alone. Being able to communicate with my colleagues and discuss projects or problems I am involved in has helped me on numerous occasions and I have shared my own experience with colleagues when they require assistance helping them be more effective in their roles.
Other important skills are problem solving, presenting and organisation skills. Problem solving, as there are times things don’t go according to plan and being able to think on your feet and resolving issues as they pop up is a skill that is needed and that is constantly developing the more experience I gain. Presenting is a skill I have also developed while at Almac, I often need to deliver reports and information to the relevant business units to give updates on progress, it is important to present these updates in a concise but informative way to give the business units an overview of how projects are progressing and potential risks we face. Organisational skills are important to ensure I can plan project resource as well as my own time resource to ensure I can meet my own roles in each of the projects I am involved in.
What was it that made you choose Almac over other companies that interested you or with which you interviewed?
I first came to Almac as a Process Engineering Placement Student during my degree in 2015. I had heard numerous people talk about how it was a great company to work for and was glad when I was accepted for the role. As a placement student I enjoyed my time within the close-knit engineering team and felt it was a good fit for me, the team were always available to support me with my responsibilities and I developed a lot over the course of the year. I felt what I did throughout that year made an impact on the different projects I was assisting with, this gave me some self-gratification and helped me build confidence as a new engineer. When I went back to University I applied to and was offered a few graduate opportunities but was happy when I got offered Almac and was delighted to accept a role within the same process engineering department that I had worked in previously.