Dave Murphy had worked continuously for most of his adult life until the end of 2010.
So it was a big shock when more than a decade of employment for a technology company ended with redundancy.
But with the help of a free third-level course adapting some of his existing skills, he has secured work with the Cork operation of one of the world’s biggest data storage companies.
“I’m 42 now, I’d done a telecommunications in the old regional technical college after school and I’ve had work at Apple, Intel, and other places since then. I’d worked for 11 years for Fujitsu doing technical assistance for big computer manufacturers like Dell in Limerick,” says Dave.
Like many other businesses, the closure of Dell had
a major impact on his employer’s volume of work, which eventually fell so much that he lost his job.
Like thousands of people effected by the slump in the construction industry and other sectors, Dave took up a place on one of the Springboard courses devised by the Higher Education Authority to help skilled people adapt their experience to meet the changing staffing needs of industry.
“I’d been sending out CVs everywhere and then I read about the courses in the newspaper, I looked it up and saw this particular diploma,” he says.
The level 8 course at Cork Institute of Technology was in Lean Six Sigma, a system for improving quality and performance that can be applied to a range of business areas. Dave had some experience at it from his previous job, so decided to apply.
“Rather than sitting around hoping for work, I thought it would be better to do a course that would be practical and help me get back to work as soon as possible,” he says.
Along with almost 20 others, half of them unemployed and the rest sponsored by their employers, Dave had classes one or two days a week. Most of the marks are based on a range of assessments and a major practical project, which Dave presented last Friday after his final exam.
The measure of the course’s relevance came in March, when he got a job as a senior process engineer at EMC in Ovens.
It is just a few kilometres from his home at Dublin Hill in Cork City, where he lives with wife Regina and their children Cian, 8, and Ciara, 5. Importantly, his new employers have also facilitated him to complete his studies.
“Having Lean Six Sigma was mentioned in the job specification, and it’s something I use in my job dealing with our suppliers of hard disk drives. The system is all about making a business operate better, doing things faster or cheaper, and generally adding value,” Dave says.
He had found the prospect of returning to education daunting, but nonetheless advises anybody in a similar position not to think twice about taking any opportunity they can.
“Like anything, it’s worth the hard work as you can get a lot out of it. And there will be a sense of achievement in the end — assuming that I’ve passed the exams, of course,” he says.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved