“Kirby will put its arms around you and help you to achieve your goals,” says Site Manager Noel Norton

Site Manager Noel Norton is on the fast track to the next step in his career. We catch up with him in this #PeopleFirst as he explores his journey with Kirby so far. Noel joined Kirby as an Electrician nine years ago. Now a Site Manager, he has benefitted from more than 400 hours in training. He is now on the fast track to becoming a Project Manager, through Kirby’s accelerated training scheme. The two-year programme will see him supported with bespoke training, mentoring, and development in preparation for his next role.

Jointly accredited by the Irish Management Institute (IMI) and the Kirby Academy, the programme sees over 220 hours invested in each individual, across on-the-job, technical, and functional training; personal development; mentoring; and lunch-and-learns. “The programme takes investment from the individual, but also from Kirby,” says Noel, who joined Kirby in 2015 as an Electrician on an industrial project in Galway. After three years, he approached leaders and asked for the opportunity to progress to Site Supervisor. That role took him back home to Dublin for a role on a pharmaceutical project. He’s been a Site Manager for three years now.

This latest training scheme has seen Noel undertake psychometric testing to understand his strengths and weaknesses, across motivation, behaviour, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. “We have personalised plans and tailored work to support us in our development,” he adds. Noel is one of 30 enrolled on the programme this year.

Kirby is actively looking at its people to identify the leaders of the future, with 80% of future growth expected to be resourced internally through programmes like these. In my experience, if you have the ambition to move to the next level, Kirby will put its arms around you and help you to achieve your goals. How many other companies could you say do that? On site, we see our senior leadership team at least every quarter, they know your name, and many have worked their way up from site to where they are now. It demonstrates that career progression all the way up to the top is achievable and actively encouraged,” says Noel.

Fergus Barry, Group HR Director, adds: “Kiby has a track record of retaining, training and developing its people. Apprenticeships, bursaries, mentoring, and learning and development are at the core of our people-first culture. Our Structured Talent Development programme is the evolution and acceleration of that ethos. The programme identifies key individuals within our business across each of the core levels of leadership. They are supported across a two-year period with targeted and bespoke training, mentoring, and development as they progress to the next level in their careers. Our Structured Talent Development programme is an exciting scheme that sees our talent supported as they move to the next challenge; to support our clients at the leading edge of engineering, delivering excellence the Kirby way.

Day to day, Noel is responsible for the management of site works and materials, supervising staff, coordinating works with subcontractors and reporting on project progress to our clients.
It’s a busy role, preparing site reports, reviewing designs and drawings, maintaining quality control procedures and carrying out site safety inspections to ensure construction and site safety,” says Noel.
We ask him about his proudest moment with Kirby, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked to maintain a pharmaceutical facility that manufactured inhalers. We made a huge difference to people with that work, and it’s a project I am very proud to have delivered safely through the pandemic.”

Apple orchard

polly tunnels

Outside of work, Noel is the retired chairman of a community garden in Dublin. Santry Community Garden is a well-established, diverse four-acre walled garden situated in a public park.
For over ten years, it’s been a wonderful amenity for the whole community. With over 100 volunteer members – including Noel – the garden boasts a productive kitchen garden teeming with fruit, herbs and vegetables, a heritage orchard of over 400 trees and a beautiful ornamental garden. The garden also has two polytunnels, sheds, a wildlife garden, solar energy and that all-important R&R area for tea breaks and barbecues.
In his role as Chairman, Noel oversaw the installation of solar panels on the project. “Biodiversity and sustainability were key for the projects; we wanted the R&R facility to have the least impact possible on the environment,” he added.

Under his stewardship, the garden was recognised as one of the world’s top ten Green Flag sites, by the Green Flag Peoples’ Choice Vote.

As we end our chat, we ask Noel where he wants to be in five years “I want to aim high. I can say that with conviction, and I know that Kirby will work with me to get me there.

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Noel Norton
Noel Norton, Site Manager
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