“Every Kirby colleague has a story of how the company has helped them personally or professionally,” says Paralegal Executive Suzanne Kirwan
In this #PeopleFirst article we speak to Suzanne Kirwan as she celebrates the completion of her barrister training at King’s Inn, Dublin. The soon-to-be barrister has spent the last year studying for the bar – one of the hardest exams in the world – whilst working as part of Kirby’s contract team.
“I had three hours of lectures every day and then logged on to work. Kirby was incredibly flexible and saw the benefit the qualification would bring. I had the choice of completing bar training over one year or two, but my directors backed me all the way when I said I’d like to do the full-time, one-year course,” says Suzanne. “Kirby also contributed to the cost of the training and supported me, professionally and personally.”
Kirby is dedicated to investing in its people and has a scholarship and development fund that people can apply to, for training or to carry out further education, like Suzanne did. This fund is in addition to the day-to-day training and development people receive as part of their roles. It is one of the aspects of Kirby’s people-first mentality that impressed the judges of last year’s Investors in People Awards, with the company presented with a Platinum Award – the highest accolade any company can receive.
Suzanne has been with Kirby for three and a half years. She started her career in the financial sector and later went to University College Cork to complete her law degree. She has worked in the contract departments of construction and engineering companies ever since.
“I haven’t looked back. A career in construction and engineering is incredibly varied and rewarding. No two days are the same. Having switched sectors, I can definitely say that we work in one of the best industries in the world. Even though I work in a central function, I know that the work I am doing is helping to deliver global critical infrastructure projects, ensuring data connectivity and, through our work in transmission and distribution, we are ensuring a greener future for our planet,” Suzanne explains.
We talk to her about what a typical day looks like: “The thing that sets Kirby apart is the management of our contracts and the collaborative relationships we have built with our clients and subcontractors. At Kirby we have a focus on getting the contracts right from the very beginning. We also have training in place for our site teams through the Kirby Way and, together with the project managers, I work with our client’s teams to constantly update and amend contracts, so that everyone knows where they stand as things change on site. It goes back to our core values – People, Safety, Quality, Delivery and Value. Our clients can trust us to be honest, fair and reasonable in all of our transactions. That is our promise as part of our ‘Value’ value.”
Kirby is also committed to ensuring its people have access to structured career development and mentorship programmes. “Kirby was keen to support me to reach my career goals. I have grown so much within the role. We already have a solicitor in house, so my new skills and training will allow us to further strengthen our team and allow me to continue to grow and develop,” adds Suzanne.
Outside of work Suzanne is just as focused and ambitious. She is building a home out in Tipperary and is currently training an ex-racehorse to compete in show jumping gymkhanas. Suzanne has competed at amateur and professional levels. “We have a few keen horse riders at Kirby, it’s always good craic when we’re all in the office together. We have showjumpers like me, directors who enjoy turning out on the racecourses in Kildare and others who are after a share in a thoroughbred racehorse. Whatever hobby you have, you’ll find someone at Kirby to share your stories with over a lunchbreak.”
To find out more about a career with Kirby, or our training and development programmes, go to https://careers.kirbygroup.com/.