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CAPEX Engineer - Pharma

08 Mar 2019

A CAPEX Engineer in the pharmaceutical industry discusses what first prompted him into the world of engineering and what a typical working day looks like for him.

Q.  What qualifications do you have?
A.  Diploma in Project Management 

      BSc Process Plant Technology 
      BEng Mechanical Engineering
      Diploma in Industrial Engineering
      National Craft Certificate - Fás Apprenticeship  

Q.  What made you choose engineering as a career?
A.
  My interest in engineering started pretty early as both parents and many of my extended family are involved in engineering and construction from some aspect in different industries. Taking an apprenticeship in a mechanical biased trade when leaving school definitely gave me further appreciation of the industry and gave me experience in a wide variety of industries which helped me decide on which areas I was most interested in pursuing as a career.  

Q.  What are the different aspects of your job?
A.  The primary focus of my particular role is the overall management of a given program, this involves early stage planning activities like site selection, land acquisition and finance planning as well as involvement in design activities from concept through to detailed design phases. The actual construction phase sometimes is a fraction of time when compared to the full lifecycle of a project. There are multiple engineering and specialist teams involved in planning and executing a successful programme of works, particularly in large scale projects where each team are required to successfully deliver work packages.  

Q.  Describe your typical day?
A.  
Depending on which phase any particular project is in a typical day can vary quite broadly, from attending update meetings with project stakeholders to ensure schedules are being adhered to, dealing with the latest risks & issues or traveling to project locations for contract discussions or design reviews.  

Communication across individual teams and managing expectations is a major part of any project so ensuring that all the relevant teams are meeting targets and solving problems as they arise would be a fair description on where most of my time is spent.  

Q.  Is there a constant need to upskill in your particular area?
A.  There is a definite need to upskill to keep on top of the most recent methodologies in planning and execution of projects, more so since the driver of speed to market is at the forefront of any project.

Q.  If so, how do you upskill?
A.  All colleges run a large number of engineering biased part-time courses that can be completed anywhere from 1-3 years depending on the level of award. I’ve found that even very specific 2-3 days courses can be very beneficial in the long term.  

Q.  Are you supported by your employers in this?
A.  Most employers have schemes available to employees to assist in further education. My approach would be to take advantage of this if possible, I’ve certainly never regretted taking the time to try and gain more knowledge for my own particular role or that of the teams I work with on a day to day basis.