Career Blogs

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Working at SL Control’s Dublin / Maynooth Regional Office – Is this Your Next Career Move?

There are several regional hubs for the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors in Ireland.

SL Controls specialises in providing services to companies in these sectors, so it makes sense that we have regional offices in the hub locations.

SL Controls’ Leinster location is the Dublin/Maynooth regional office.

It is located in Maynooth and is our prime location for serving clients in Dublin and the surrounding areas. This location offers a range of benefits to our business, not least because it ensures we have a core team of highly skilled and committed engineers operating in close proximity to some of our key clients.

Working at SL Controls Dublin Maynooth Regional Office – Is this Your Next Career Move

 

Range of Clients

SL Controls works with a range of different clients in Dublin and the surrounding areas. Our primary focus is on providing controls, automation, and validation solutions to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.

As a result, working for us means working on projects for some of the world’s largest companies. We also do work for exciting Irish companies in the pharmaceutical and MedTech sectors.

Growth of SL Controls

SL Controls has been on a consistent growth trajectory for several years now. Just last year we were named as one of the 50 fastest growing tech companies in the country.

We have ambitious plans for the future too, not just in Ireland but in export markets around the world, including the US. This presents fantastic opportunities for our staff to grow professionally, take on new challenges, and achieve their career goals.

Roles Available in Maynooth

 If you’re an engineer, could working from our Dublin/Maynooth office be your next career move?

Visit our engineering careers page now to find out more about the current vacancies we have in Dublin/Maynooth.

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Industry 4.0 and What it Means for Your Future Engineering Career

Industry 4.0 is a modern phrase used to describe the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In each of the three revolutions that came before it, significant change occurred. The driver behind those changes was usually technology, but the impact was far-reaching. This includes changing economic structures in countries, the makeup of societies, and, importantly, the future prospects of workers.

What about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, though? After all, one of the key characteristics of Industry 4.0 is a further deepening of the use of automation in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing. Many of these automation solutions replace people who previously did the work manually.

The reality is that some jobs will no longer exist as Industry 4.0 technologies become further embedded in manufacturing companies. There is a flip side to this, though. For engineers, that flip side looks very positive.

Industry 4.0 Opportunities

While Industry 4.0 technologies will replace some jobs, it will create many more. Those jobs will be in a number of areas but one of the most significant is engineering.

This is because companies will need skilled, creative, and innovative engineers to create, implement, manage, support, and maintain the solutions, technologies, platforms, and systems that are now possible in the Industry 4.0 era.

In other words, Smart Factories of the future may not need some of the workers that exist today, but they will need engineers.

Whether you are an experienced engineer, an engineer at the start of your career, or a student with aspirations to become an engineer, Industry 4.0 presents considerable opportunities.

Maximising Your Potential

As opportunities do exist and will continue to exist long into the future, you need to take steps now to ensure you are in a good position to maximise your potential. A key part of this is ensuring you continuously develop your professional skills.

This includes technical skills, learning new technologies, and enhancing your current level of knowledge. In addition, you should work to improve your soft skills as employers value these skills too.

It’s also important to have an open mind in terms of your engineering discipline. This is because manufacturing facilities of the future will require people who have a broad range of skills, rather than those who specialise in a particular discipline such as mechanical or electrical engineering.

You might need both in addition to validation skills and the ability to write code, for example.

This is one of the characteristics of engineers at SL Controls. Our team is made up of engineers who came to us with a solid foundation but who have then broadened their skillsets and areas of knowledge so they can contribute to the range of projects we work on for clients.

Your Future Engineering Career

We can guess at what the Smart Factory of the future will look like, and we can try to imagine the technologies that have yet to be developed but which will become essential when they do become available.

One thing is for certain, however – engineers are crucial to the journey.

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Job Interview Questions Engineers Should Prepare For

Going through the interview stage is an important and essential part of getting that next job that moves your engineering career forward. To complete the interview stage successfully, you need to answer questions in a way that gives confidence to the interviewers and ensures they remember you after you leave.

In most interviews for engineering job roles, you will encounter four main types of question:

  • Competency questions – to find out about the skills you have. Remember, employers will be interested in your soft skills in addition to your technical skills, so filter information on those into your answers as well.
  • Motivation questions – largely centred on why you want to work in the industry, for the company, or in the particular role.
  • Scenario questions – this is where the interviewer presents a scenario and asks how you would deal with it. This is to get a better understanding of the approach you take in different situations.
  • Strength-based questions – these questions help the interviewer understand what you believe your strengths are. Crucially, it also helps the interviewer understand your main motivations in work.

The important thing to remember is that the interviewer wants to understand more than your technical engineering capabilities and experience.

Example Interview Questions

To give you an idea of the questions you might encounter in an interview for an engineering position, here are some examples:

  • What do you like most/least about engineering?
  • What motivates you as an engineer?
  • Why do you want to work for the company and/or in the industry?
  • What interests you about the specific role?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (remember when answering this one that ambition takes many forms – moving up the ladder is just one, but you might have ambitions for something else)
  • What’s the most challenging project you’ve been involved in?
  • What is the most successful project you’ve been involved in and why?
  • How have you used your skills to solve a problem? (with these sorts of question, interviewers are trying to learn about your problem-solving and creative skills)
  • What new skills have you learned in recent times?

Tips for Answering Engineering Job Interview Questions

  • Research the company
  • Research the industry if you don’t work in it
  • Get a thorough understanding of the role from the job description
  • Understand in your own mind why you’re applying for the job
  • Think about projects and other experiences you have had that you can use as examples

With the last point in the above list, don’t just focus on purely positive experiences. After all, not all engineering projects go according to plan. It’s important to show prospective employers how you deal with difficult situations.

In summary, employers want to find out in job interviews whether you have the necessary competencies. Using varied examples and thinking through some common interview questions in advance will help you do this.

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It’s Time for a Change – Move Back to Ireland and Work for SL Controls

Are you thinking of making a change in the New Year? Maybe you’re home for Christmas to see friends and family, giving you time to consider your options. With the strength of the economy and the strong (and growing) engineering sector that now exists in the country, coming back to Ireland could be the right decision to make.

Its Time for a Change – Move Back to Ireland and Work for SL Controls

 

At SL Controls, we have a range of job opportunities available for Irish engineers living abroad who would like to move back to Ireland to build their careers, be closer to family, and achieve a better quality of life.

That’s exactly what one of our employees did last year. Vinnie Boyd was working in Australia but saw the opportunities available in Ireland when he was home for Christmas. He returned to Australia but a few months later he was back in Ireland working in a new job at SL Controls. Read Vinnie’s story.

Opportunities Across the Country

Engineers Ireland believes 6,000 new engineering jobs will be created in Ireland in 2019. Those jobs will be available in just about every county and region.

At SL Controls, we have offices in Sligo, Dublin, Galway, and Limerick. Those offices are strategically placed to meet the needs of our clients who primarily come from the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing industries.

Its Time for a Change – Move Back to Ireland and Work for SL Controls - map of offices

 

To whet your appetite, read more about the benefits of living and working in the regions where we have a base. There are advantages to each, whether you have a local/family connection or not.

Benefits of Working at SL Controls

One of the things we are proud of at SL Controls is we have a low staff turnover. The reasons for this include the work-life balance that our employees achieve, the career progression opportunities that are available, and the benefits we offer.

Benefits You Get When You Work at SL Controls

 

Read more about the employee benefits we offer at SL Controls.

What’s It Like Working at SL Controls

How do you know if SL Controls will be the right fit for you?

Watch the video to find out more about what we do and what it’s like working for SL Controls.

 

You can also get more information from some of our blogs:

Find out more about SL Controls, the projects we work on, and our clients, by watching our corporate video:

 

In addition, you’ll get an insight from the individual stories of some of our employees.

Ruairi O’Neill – from qualified electrician to Control Systems Engineer to Project Manager

Ruairi O'Neill

Read Ruairi’s story

 

Volker Winhausen – moving from a multinational corporation in the Middle East to Controls System Engineering at SL Controls

Volker Winhausen

Read Volker’s story

 

Martina Lenehan – switching careers to become SL Controls’ Occupational Health and Safety Officer

Employee Stories - Martina Lenehan

Read Martina’s story

 

Jacob Mussler – from archaeology in the USA to Controls System Engineer in Ireland

Jacob Mussler

Read Jacob’s story

 

Robert O’Hanlon – from being an apprentice electrician in Kildare to SL Controls’ Lead Field Engineer

SL Controls Employee Stories Robert OHanlon

Read Robert’s story

 

Eamon Davern – from Graduate Engineer to travelling the world as a Field Systems Engineer in less than a year

Employee Stories - Eamon Davern

Read Eamon’s story

 

Your Next Career Move

Ireland is a fantastic place to live and work. At SL Controls, we have vacancies for Control Systems Engineers, Validation Engineers, Factory Automation Specialists, Project Managers, Software Engineers, and Field Engineers.

Find out more by visiting our Careers Page now.

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Benefits of Living in Sligo and Working for SL Controls

Sligo is one of Ireland’s fastest growing regions and there are good reasons why. Many of those reasons are listed below, with most of them playing a role in helping people living and working elsewhere in the country or further afield to make the decision to relocate.

We’re proud to say that some of those people chose to come to work for us at SL Controls. This particularly applies to engineers, specifically control systems engineers, automation engineers, and validation engineers.

SL Controls provides equipment system integration services for manufacturers in regulated sectors including pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, and food and beverage manufacturing. We have offices around the country, but our head office is in Sligo.

If you’re a control systems, automation, or validation engineer, or you have experience in a similar field, we’d be interested in talking to you about joining our Sligo team.

Before getting further into that, let’s first explore why Sligo is such a good place to live, raise a family, grow your career, and fulfil your professional potential.

Here’s a video to get started from Sligo Chamber on living and working in Sligo:

Sligo Boasts Some of the Best Natural Attractions in Ireland

Lots of places in Ireland would claim they have the best natural attractions, but we think Sligo comes out on top. Here are some of the things on offer in this region:

  • Stunning natural scenery particularly the Wild Atlantic Way and the mountains that sweep down to the ocean
  • Surfing – after all, Sligo is home to the Wild Atlantic Way’s Surf Coast
  • Coastal walks if you prefer to stay on the sand rather than go into the waves
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Diving
  • Hiking, particularly on one of Ireland’s most distinctive and iconic mountains, Ben Bulben
  • And more

Low Property Prices

Sligo compares favourably when you look at property prices in relation to other major business hubs around Ireland – Dublin, Galway, Cork, and Limerick in particular. This applies to all styles of home too, from stylish apartments to large and comfortable family homes.

Thriving Business Community and Strong Jobs Growth

Several companies have made jobs announcements in Sligo over the past year, with many industries thriving. This particularly applies to the technology sector. In fact, Sligo has become known as ‘Silicon Sligo’ and it has become a hub for start-up companies and creatives.

There is also a wide range of companies in the area including Irish companies (like SL Controls) and large multinationals like AbbVie and Abbott.

Excellent Transport Infrastructure

Commuting into Sligo town, and to the main business and technology hubs in the town, is easy by car or public transport. Surrounding counties like Donegal and Mayo are easily accessible too. In addition, there are good transport links and road infrastructure when you want to go further afield.

Sligo’s Culture Scene

Sligo is Yeats Country, which is reason enough on its own to be attracted to the area. There is more, though, including museums, galleries, and theatres in addition to more modern entertainment venues like cinemas and attractions for children.

Sligo also has a thriving music and pub scene, both of which are crucial to nightlife in the area. There are great restaurants and cafes too.

Plenty for Sports Fans

Sligo is a great place to watch sports including Connacht Rugby and Sligo Rovers in addition to GAA and other sports. There is also an abundance of local sports clubs to participate in, including great golf courses.

Great for Families

Everything from the low cost of living to the excellent schools to the easy to achieve work-life balance makes Sligo a fantastic place to raise a family.

What About SL Controls?

Okay, Sligo is a great place to live – why should you work at SL Controls?

SL Controls is an industry leader in the provision of automation and equipment system integration solutions to regulated sectors. Our clients include many of the top pharmaceutical and MedTech companies in the world, and we’re at the cutting edge of technology.

We are growing fast too – we were named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2018.

Our engineers enjoy a generous benefits package, excellent career progression opportunities, and so much more.

To find out more, check out our engineering careers page to learn about the positions in Sligo we are currently recruiting for.

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Advantages of Continuing Professional Development for Engineers

Do you want to move your engineering career forward? This could involve getting a more senior position, changing the industry you work in, or progressing in your current role to put you in a better position for the future. One of best ways to achieve these objectives is through continuing professional development.

This doesn’t just apply to engineering, of course, as continuing professional development is important in a range of different careers. Changing technologies, industries, and methods of project delivery, however, mean continuous professional development has an enhanced level of importance in engineering.

What is Continuous Professional Development?

Continuous professional development (which is sometimes referred to as CPD) involves gaining new knowledge, skills, and experience. It can be formal or informal and it normally has a clear direction of travel, i.e. developing a new skill to help you achieve a specific goal.

Training is part of continuing professional development, but it is not just about training. Instead, continuing professional development is about developing wider competencies and advanced understanding in areas related to your engineering career and the path you foresee your career taking in the future.

What Does Continuing Professional Development Look Like?

Continuing professional development can involve enhancing your technical skills or developing and improving leadership and management skills. It can also involve developing and improving soft skills including communication, time management, problem-solving, teamwork, presentation, and customer service skills. These skills are highly valued in modern and forward-thinking engineering companies.

The practical process of continuing professional development can take many forms:

  • Formal training where you achieve a qualification
  • Learning from colleagues on the job
  • Working on a new type of project
  • Taking on more responsibilities in your current role
  • Learning informally by, for example, reading or completing online tutorials
  • And more

Your employer may have an involvement in your continuing professional development. In fact, good employers will play a proactive role. However, the plan must be focused on you. You need to decide what direction you want your career to take so you can set goals, identify skills gaps, and put a plan in place to bridge those gaps.

Advantages of Continuing Professional Development

  • Improves your employability.
  • Keeps you up-to-date in your chosen field or industry. This is particularly important in industries going through significant change. For example, SL Controls works with many leading manufacturers in highly regulated industries like pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing. New serialisation rules, as well as emerging Industry 4.0 technologies, mean our engineers operate at the cutting edge of our industry. It is exciting and hugely rewarding, but it also highlights the importance of continuing professional development.
  • Maintains freshness and enthusiasm for your job and career. Continuing professional development can also re-energise your career if you have become stagnated.

What We Do at SL Controls

Continuing professional development is important in all parts of our business at SL Controls. As a result, we have a Pathways Programme in place to help our engineers develop new skills, work more autonomously, and receive enhanced compensation.

Crucially, the Pathways Programme is not linear with all our engineers following the same route. Our engineers have options to progress technically into designer/architect/consultant roles and/or to develop people or project management skills by progressing into team lead/project lead roles.

So, where do you go from here? You may need guidance or advice to help you reach a conclusion, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide on the answer. What is for certain, however, is that opportunities exist, so get started today.

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Remote Working – Embracing Modern and Flexible Working Arrangements

Over recent years, the workplace has changed dramatically. Those changes continue as old, traditional structures of working become obsolete, replaced by models that are better suited to businesses, employees, and wider society. A major part of this change in working practices is the increasing appeal of remote working – both to employers and to employees.

At SL Controls, we are in the innovation business, delivering cutting-edge controls and integration solutions to keep our clients competitive and allow them to make the most of current and future opportunities. It makes sense, therefore, that we adopt the same innovative approach to how we run the company. A key part of that is embracing remote working.

What is Remote Working?

Remote working means the employee is performing specific work obligations required under their contract of employment from their home or other location away from their employers’ premises. In SL Controls, there different categories of remote working: Occasional, Regular, and Full Time. In any remote working situation, including in our model at SL Controls, employees continue to be an integral member of project delivery teams. Also, they will have a base office in one of our regional locations across Ireland – Sligo, Galway, Limerick, or Dublin.

Of course, regular or full-time remote working doesn’t suit all job roles, and we apply pre-set criteria when deciding whether a remote working situation is right for the company. An essential part of this decision-making process is reviewing the role requirements along with the employee’s competence and experience. We also have an assessment process to ensure the employee has a safe remote working environment.

It is important that the remote worker remains connected not just technically through phones and broadband, but also on a personal level. After all, we want to ensure any remote working situation meets SL Controls’ overall objectives while also making sure remote workers don’t feel left out or disconnected from the company culture.

With these checks and balances in place, however, remote working can be a real benefit both to the individual employee as well as to the company in general.

Why is Remote Working Important to SL Controls?

Firstly, the nature of our business means remote working is suitable for some roles.. After all, many members of our teams are engineers designing, writing, testing, and validating software programmes for companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing sectors. Providing they have an adequate working space, a laptop, and secure, encrypted access to our system, some engineers can work remotely – at least for some of the time.

In addition, allowing remote working in the right circumstances allows us to attract the best talent to the business. This, in turn, helps SL Controls to grow and helps us provide consistently high standards of service to our clients.

We have also found that remote working can help our employees achieve a better work-life balance. This improves productivity in the business.

Working Remotely for SL Controls

The summary of this article is there may be a role for you at SL Controls, even if our four Irish offices are unsuitable for a daily commute. There are no guarantees, of course, as remote working is only possible following discussion and consideration of the needs of the business.

The possibility exists, though, plus it could be the best career move you’ve made to date. So, whether you are in rural south County Cork, the North Coast of County Antrim, or anywhere between, check out our current engineering vacancies and then get in touch to explore your options.

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How to Get Engineering Experience When You Don’t Have Engineering Experience

It’s the famous jobs market catch-22 – how do you get engineering experience when you don’t have engineering experience. The problem can be frustrating as roles that don’t require experience are hard to find, very competitive, and difficult to secure.

Plus, the experience you typically need is in a real work situation. In other words, the experience you get in college working on projects will help, but it’s nowhere near enough. You need to be in a commercial environment.

To get into a commercial environment you need experience…

But you don’t have experience…

There are solutions. Before exploring them, however, there are a few things you should be aware of before you start.

The Prerequisites

There are three things you should be aware of before you begin taking steps to bulk out your CV:

  1. You must be proactive – this means you need to put yourself out there. Simply searching for formal work experience opportunities (placements, internships, etc) is unlikely to be enough. Instead, you’ll need to be forward and you’ll need to ask, remembering that if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
  2. You’ll need to be resilient – you’re likely to get more no-replies and polite knock backs than successes. Don’t take this personally, though, as you need to push on.
  3. Get to know the market – This involves researching the companies that employ engineers. Remember, if you can move or are willing to travel, your chances will improve. In addition, it’s important to look at all types of company, including smaller companies. Also, be as direct as possible when making contact these companies. This involves identifying the right person in the company you’re reaching out to and finding their contact details

Where You Can Get Engineering Experience

  • Internships – larger companies may have a structured internship programme you can apply to. For smaller companies, however, you’ll need to be more proactive. This involves sending in speculative applications asking for an opportunity.
  • Apprenticeships – apprenticeships are more formal than internships and they allow you to earn while you learn. Be prepared, though, as most engineering apprenticeships are hotly contested.
  • Placement – you can also try to get a work placement through your college. Speak to your college career office and keep up to date with career office notices and website as companies may advertise their roles through the college.
  • Work experience – for many people, this is the best way to get engineering experience. The first thing to note is you probably won’t be paid. That said, you will get new contacts in the industry in addition to the work experience you can put on your CV.
  • Temporary jobs – you can also apply for engineering-related temporary jobs, particularly during traditional holiday periods.

Build Up Your Professional Network

In addition to the above, there are other things you can do that will help you get work experience. Building your professional network is high on that list as you never know what can result from knowing a well-placed contact.

Here are some tips:

  • Attend college recruitment fairs and recruitment fairs run by other organisations, particularly if they are focused on engineering.
  • Don’t just go to the recruitment fairs to walk around, though. Instead, engage with the people at company stands, show genuine interest, and establish a professional relationship.
  • Attend lectures and events at college that involve employers in the local area.
  • Keep in contact with your lecturer after you leave college.
  • Build your professional network on LinkedIn by establishing new connections.

Non-Engineering Experience Counts Too

Non-engineering experience is important as well, remember, as employers want to see you have a broad range of skills. This includes:

  • Communication skills
  • Team working skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work on your own initiative
  • Attention to detail
  • Reliability
  • Commitment

You can demonstrate all the above with experience in non-engineering jobs or through volunteering at charities, local sports clubs, or community organisations

Final Thoughts

Getting experience when you’re starting out your engineering career can be challenging, but it will reap rewards. This includes getting a full-time job, of course, but getting work experience also increases the skills you have, plus it will help you decide if the job, industry, or type of company is right for you.

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