In advance of the CPD Employer of the Year competition final on September 25, the Engineers Journal caught up with each of the competition finalists to tell us more about the benefits of CPD accreditation to their organisation.

The CPD Employer of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, and supported by the Department of Education and Skills, is the premium award for employers of professional engineers and technicians and aims to recognise the successful accomplishment of an organisation’s strategic vision through the use of suitable continuous professional development (CPD) initiatives.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Cruiserath Biologics

At Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), our team are at the heart of our organisation. Our success depends on building teams of bold, innovative and passionate employees who will help continue to drive us further forward to deliver innovative medicines to patients.

The Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation has provided BMS with a framework to review our learning and development practices, and has provided insight into where we might need to grow or adapt across the organisation to keep up to speed with emerging trends in CPD initiatives.

Established for more than 20 years, and as a nationally recognised group, the Engineers Ireland CPD accreditation provides BMS with a competitive edge when recruiting for highly skilled talent. This is demonstrated by the bold, innovative and passionate workforce working on-site presently.

The CPD framework provides a holistic architecture, for us as an organisation, to invest in CPD systems and processes, in order to build organisation-wide CPD practices that are truly transformational, and which develop our people.

It has also allowed us to turn strategic plans into worthwhile actions, which in turn have delivered tangible results for the organisation, by allowing us to build, and retain, a talented workforce.

Being a CPD accredited employer is recognition that our strategic CPD enablers deliver results. These enablers focus on our people, and people development, which includes:
• Significant investment in training and upskilling of our people
• A focus on creating bespoke development plans for our people
• A mission to cultivate great managers and leaders who embody a growth mindset

Being a CPD accredited employer also retains focus for us to always strive to better our performance, and push boundaries so that we can help provide a workplace which is committed to the development of our people.

The structure of the CPD framework means that we retain focus on continuously advancing our capability to progress in the framework categories and to provide benchmark development opportunities for our employees.

Being a CPD accredited employer is also further endorsement which recognises that BMS truly is a ‘great place to work’, not only for our current employees but also for prospective employees.

H&MV Engineering

H&MV Engineering aimed to achieve the accreditation to become an Engineers Ireland CPD accredited employer and started our journey in 2016. We wanted to align ourselves with Engineers Ireland due to the esteem with which it is held in the engineering and design industry.

The criteria to achieve this standard steered H&MV to improve existing learning and development procedures and implement new practices across the global business.

By implementing a CPD policy, this communicated to our employees, at home and abroad, our commitment to their professional development and to foster an optimal environment for learning, development and growth within the company.

As a result of this policy, our design department underwent on-the-job-training to expand their skills to reflect the ‘turnkey’ approach of H&MV Engineering, while achieving the BIM Level 2 Certification.

In developing and nurturing the creativity of H&MV, we nominated research and development ‘champions’ within a variety of departments, working closely with engineering, to design new solutions to improve current operating practices.

Our procurement team worked closely with our engineering team in Scandinavia in the development of modular substations as a method of value engineering. This vastly benefited our global supply chain and workplace knowledge sharing.

This experimental learning style allowed us to communicate interdepartmentally and appreciate all points of view across the business.

Implementing a mentoring strategy has allowed us to transfer skills from Ireland to our global offices. This was achieved by sending highly skilled employees to work on our global sites, acting as mentors, and upskilling the local hires through work demonstrations, and on-the-job training.

H&MV has now well-rounded, competent, local teams executing projects across Europe, Africa and Asia. This has benefited us immensely as global turnover has increased by 44 per cent to €50 million in 2019.

H&MV Engineering was awarded CPD accreditation in September 2018. The high regard that this accreditation holds in recognising our quality of and commitment to continuing professional development systems and practices has vastly benefited our recruitment strategy.

This achievement has allowed H&MV to become an attractive employer of choice for engineering graduates throughout Ireland. Through this, our engineering team has grown from eight electrical engineers in 2016, to 25 in 2019.

By implementing learning and development initiatives inspired by the CPD pillars, such as our High Voltage Apprentice Development Programme and Graduate Development Programme, we have improved our employee retention rate, which has risen from 83.7 per cent to 87.2 per cent in two years.

These on-the-job learning programmes provide employees with rotations through the varying departments in the business, ensuring they are well experienced and competent to complete their tasks with the unique perspective of a global turnkey electrical contractor.

Our goals when embarking on the CPD accredited employer journey were to continue to expand across new markets, recruit skilled engineering professionals, and improve our current retention rate.

Becoming a CPD employer with Engineers Ireland has unequivocally aided our company growth. At H&MV Engineering, we are now holding ourselves to a higher standard, with a clear roadmap for learning and development for future growth, thanks to the Engineers Ireland CPD Employer Accreditation.

Priority Construction

Priority Construction Ltd was established in 1967. The company was set up to provide civil engineering infrastructural works to private and public clients.

Since inception, the company has grown steadily to our current position generating a turnover of €25 million and employing a direct workforce of 65 personnel. We also own and operate a large fleet of plant.

We specialise in the provision of site enabling works, road construction and remediation, landfill cell construction and capping, the remediation of unauthorised landfill sites, concrete structures flood alleviation and coastal protection works.

As our competitive advantage manifests through the quality of our engineers and managerial staff, the CPD accredited standard helps us galvanise and enhance that advantage, rendering it sustainable.

Our strategic goals consist of: maintaining our current client base; increase in turnover levels by three per cent annually; maintenance of current profit levels; zero harm relative to health and safety and environment protection; customer satisfaction; above industry average success rate with quality submissions for MEAT evaluation tenders; chartership for all engineers; considerate contractor by 2020; BIM-Level 2; development of a skills matrix and personal development plan for all engineers; and the enhancement and improvement of our current company culture along with embracing the green agenda.

CPD Accredited Employer Standard benefits:

1.) Steering committee – the steering committee is responsible for setting the direction of the CPD standard towards the attainment of the company’s objectives. They also establish the CPD KPIs and monitor their attainment.
2.) CPD policy – we now adopt a more formal approach to overall strategic objectives, direction and policy.
3.) Skills matrix – on embracing the CPD accredited standard, we developed a skills matrix for all engineers and employees in managerial roles. The purpose of the skills matrix is to establish the key skills, hard and soft, desired of our team members. Thereafter, all team members are evaluated whereby desired skills are compared to actual. From the GAPs, identified training and/or development is initiated.
4.) Mentoring – all team members have been allocated a mentor who meet three times annually. The mentoring sessions work in cohesion with the skills matrix and the personal development plan. During the mentoring sessions a mentee’s actual skills are assessed in relation to desired skills, both hard and soft. From this exercise a GAP is established, and this acts as the catalyst for further training.
5.) External linkages – since becoming a CPD accredited employer, Priority Construction Ltd has deliberately built up stronger working relations with key strategic partners. Included among those are: Engineers Ireland, CIF, CECA, Waterford Institute of Technology and numerous firms of consulting engineers.
6.) Other benefits gained from the CPD award are: prestigious recognition from blue chip clients; accurate monitoring of both individual and company performance; improvement in company culture; becoming a recognised learning organisation; the ability of remaining ahead of industry technological and legislative developments and the comfort of knowing the desired skills required of our engineers. The company has also become more creative and innovative.

Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, and supported the Department of Education and Skills, the winners of the 2019 CPD Employer of the Year Award will be announced at the 10th annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards on Friday, November 15.