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Aoife McEleavy, Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering, Manufacturing & Energy

Aoife McEleavy, Manufacturing Engineer

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

When studying Design Engineering at University of Ulster, I quickly realised this type of engineering wasn’t for me. I decided to try other areas and found my passion for engineering was in the manufacturing side. It was defining moment in my career decision. Working and gaining experience in Combilift has definitely helped me to realise my true career path which is definitely the area of manufacturing engineering.   

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

My Technology/Design teacher at school was a major influence in my career direction. He always encouraged me to work hard on my projects and I always enjoyed going into his class to learn and engage with the subject. When I started working in Combilift, Peter Boyle the Lean/Quality Manager helped me to settle into my job. He is always supportive and I can go to him whenever I need guidance on a project or help to solve an issue. He is an amazing support system to the team.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I was working as a Civil Engineer on the construction of the global headquarters for Combilift. One day I was introduced to Martin McKenna (Operations Manager) and we discussed mechanical engineering and I highlighted my interest to work for a global company like Combilift. The management at Combilift recognised my potential and offered me a position in my area of interest which is Lean/Quality Manufacturing Engineering. My strong work ethic and team building skills was a valuable asset Combilift wanted on their team and I definitely displayed these skills in all my work efforts.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day in Combilift is never the same for me! My main task includes tracking multiple projects on a day to day basis that are managed throughout teams made up of various stakeholders. My job is also to ensure activities stay on track and projects remain within scope and budget.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

On a day to day basis I find my job very rewarding, I work with different departments within the company and ensure their work is completed to a high standard of quality.

I manage systems around the factory and ensure they are efficient in labour and costs for the company. My role is primarily overseeing projects that lead to benefits in productivity and safety.

What are the main challenges?

Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate with people that don’t always see your vision for effective practices and this can lead to delays in implementing efficiencies. My main goal is to successfully apply co-operative practices in the company and ensure procedures are followed by the related department. 

What's cool?

I really enjoy working with different departments on a variety of projects that essentially help them to improve their work flow and production efforts. Everyday is different and I love the excitement of that! Each day comes a new challenge, there is always something new and engaging to work on in Combilift. I always feel a massive sense of achievement when my projects are successful for the company. It makes my job worthwhile and rewarding at the end of the day.

What's not so cool?

To be completely honest, I love the area I work in and I am happy I found my ideal career here at Combilift. It is also great to have the opportunity to work on various new and exciting projects with a global organisation.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

Skills needed for my job include excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills are also essential when working with different types of people on a daily basis. You always need to be up for a challenge and problem solving is also a key element to my job. Strong work values are also important and it is one of the most important skill in Combilift — Dependability, honesty, self-confidence and a can-do attitude are prized qualities in any profession. Combilift value employees with personal integrity.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

In school I studied Tech Design and absolutely loved the subject. I also studied several engineering courses in School. From there, I went onto University of Ulster to study Design Engineering. At the time I thought it was the only option of study for me but I soon realised it wasn’t my favourite part of the engineering industry. It’s good to explore the practical subjects available in school as well as the tech subjects, they include extremely valuable knowledge that will help you to determine if the engineering life is for you in the future.

What is your education to date?

In school, I studied several types of engineering courses which helped me to determine if this area was ideal for my future career path. In University, I studied Design Engineering which lasted 4 years. Since starting my career journey in Combilift, I have been offered the opportunity to further train and educate in lean/quality manufacturing. Last year I completed my green belt course in Lean. Since September, I have also started a course to receive my black belt in Lean, which I am completing in Limerick at the moment. My further studies are crucial for my work and extremely beneficial for both parties (the company and myself).

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

At the moment, my further studies are vital to my job. My role focuses on delivering the best quality/lean practices for each department in the organisation. Therefore, the Green and Black belt has been an integral part in the deliverance of completing high standards operations in Combilift while also keeping up with new developments in quality. 

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

For me, the most rewarding experience was working on the building site, it was totally new and different to me. Fresh out of university life, it was a whole new world I never expected to explore or even like but it was the best experience to learn invaluable on-the-job skills that help me with my current job in Combilift. In addition, since starting my position here at Combilift I have been involved and a key figure in a variety of projects that resulted in huge cost savings. My success in the projects has developed the operations and created further efficiencies in the Combilift work environment.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

-       Dependable

-       Ambitious

-       Resilient

What is your dream job?

I love my job and it would be amazing to just keep working and doing what I am doing here in Combilift.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Yes, my lifestyle includes going to the gym and catching up with friends at the weekend. I am really lucky to have found a steady work/life balance with my job. Although at present I am extremely busy with further studies in Limerick at the weekends. It is fantastic that I have the option to continue learning new things and exploring new areas of the engineering industry while also establishing my career at Combilift.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

No matter what you do in University, you can always go down another route. Combilift opened up an opportunity for my career and now I am returning to University to further study a topic (Lean/Quality) I am truly passionate about and I would love to pursue for the rest of my life. There are endless areas of Engineering out there, go and explore what suits you best. Don’t stop until you find the right one for you. I found my ideal career and Combilift is funding my further education to improve and grow in the Engineering industry.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Communication 
Patience 
Adapting to new environments in the workplace.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

At the moment, my further studies are vital to my job. My role focuses on delivering the best quality/lean practices for each department in the organisation. Therefore, the Green and Black belt has been an integral part in the deliverance of completing high standards operations in Combilift while also keeping up with new developments in quality.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

In my opinion, I feel volunteering to help people or working in a public-facing job is an ideal way to gain experience. This helps to build effective communication with others when working in a people orientated environment. Strong communication skills are vital for any industry especially Engineering. The ability to work and get along with others in the workplace is a powerful asset that will stand to you when entering the world of work.

What is your current job title?

Manufacturing Engineer at Combilift. 

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