Brendan O’Hanlon

Excelerate Graduate Building Services Engineer (2015 intake)

"My mentor is a great help as he assesses my four-monthly reports and ensures they are of a standard to progress towards chartership."

Studied at (university/ college): Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

Degree: BEng Sustainable Energy Engineering

What attracted you to Sisk and the Excelerate programme?

Sisk has a strong reputation in Ireland for being involved in well-known and complex projects. I was drawn specifically to the Excelerate programme as it provided opportunity to travel and gain varied experience alongside structure and support in achieving chartership.

In no more than 20 words explain what Excelerate is?

Excelerate allows you to gain varied knowledge and experience, allowing you to achieve chartership and progress to higher management roles.

How did you find the recruitment process?

The process was very thorough and quite challenging. I feel the use of varied metrics and assessment methods allows for an accurate assessment of suitability to the role. Similar to all other applications it started with a cover letter and CV as a first stage. The second stage used online aptitude tests to assess your numerical, logical and verbal reasoning. Day-to-day it is very useful to be strong in these areas. The final step involves an assessment centre which combined a number of different tests such as an interview and a presentation. Although it seemed daunting at first, I found the assessors to be very welcoming and allowed applicants to sell themselves quite comfortably.

How are you supported through the programme?

In my day-to-day role, I am very well supported by the site team. This is throughout all levels and disciplines on site, everyone is happy to help. In broader terms, I was also appointed a mentor from the day I joined the company. I am in regular contact with him and he is always on hand with advice when I ask. My mentor is a great help towards chartership as he assesses my four-monthly reports and ensures they are of a standard to progress towards chartership. Finally, as an Excelerate graduate, I regularly attend workshops and training days with other graduates where we learn from senior and experienced people both from within Sisk and from external companies.

Tell me in your own words what your best experience has been on the Excelerate programme to date?

The handover of my previous project, a large scale data centre, was very rewarding after over 18 months of hard work. As a services engineer, the work may not be as visible as a concrete structure so completing Integrated Systems Testing and handing over to the client was very satisfying.

Please describe in summary what your day / week looks like in your current / most recent placement you’d like to share?

Currently, my day starts with attending a daily meeting to discuss planned works and co-ordinate M&E install with other trades. Then I walk around the M&E workfaces to assess quality and progress with the supervisors. From time to time, we may see co-ordination or design issues which I can review and fix. On most days, I have a meeting with subcontractor(s) to assess construction or design progress to programme, generate medium term lookaheads, co-ordinate work interfaces, and review and approve drawings and equipment choice.

What have you found most challenging?

Initially, the change of daily schedule was a big challenge. Work hours in construction are fairly long, I currently work from 7-5 daily. However, there is usually a friendly atmosphere within teams which makes this easy to get used to.

Any tips for future applicants?

Make yourself heard. Whether this is within the application process or in the job itself, it’s important to make your thoughts known. Even if you’re wrong, it gives you an opportunity to learn.

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