CPD allows ROD to compete and win international projects
15 September 2014
Author: Aonghus O’Keeffe BE MEngSc CEng MIEI, senior engineer, Roughan & O’Donovan Bridges Group
The years 2008-2013 witnessed a dramatic fall-off in demand for civil engineering consultancy services in Ireland. Globally, in the same period, demand increased as developed economies invested to improve aged infrastructure and emerging economies built new infrastructure. During this time, the global civil engineering sector has seen unprecedented consolidation.
Roughan & O’Donovan (ROD) is a small- to medium-sized, multidisciplinary, indigenous engineering consultancy that in global terms would be classed as small and niche. In the challenged reference period, ROD implemented a focused strategy to: identify and target new sectors and geographies for expansion; maintain size to compete with larger players; improve the value proposition for clients through investment in a research and development arm; and develop employees skills and capabilities to meet the new demands; while continuing to provide the high quality level services for which ROD has always been known.
The strategy has constantly involved the use of CPD to achieve our targets. Both our business and our individual employees have benefited from the structured use of CPD, facilitated by adherence to the Engineers Ireland Accredited Employer Standard and its predecessors. Particular benefit has been gained from the successful implementation of our Knowledge Management Strategy coupled with our robust external learning linkages, thereby enabling steady improvement of our value proposition.
ROD has invested in growing intellectual capital through external sources such that our people, processes and technology have continuously been enhanced. We have acquired organisational knowledge through various initiatives, including: benchmarking and collaboration with international consultants; recruitment of high-calibre graduates to join our two-year graduate programme; recruitment of experienced professionals; participation in external training, post-graduate education and industry conferences; and membership of industry committees and steering groups.
Our knowledge is shared internally through formal and informal processes, such as graduate rotation, knowledge champions, in-house training and mentoring. Examples of how acquired knowledge was used successfully to achieve our strategic targets over the last three years include: the recent completion and opening of the Boyne Greenway; ROD’s leading role in the delivery of the innovative and award winning River Erne Bridge; engagements for the preliminary design of the Fourth Crossing of the Panama Canal; design check for the M8-M73-M74 motorway in Glasgow; and independent check for the Third Narmada Bridge in India.
ROD staff are contributing to the ongoing development and promotion of the engineering profession. Individuals from our Transportation Group have been involved in developing national design standards and regional strategies for cycleway facilities. Training courses, university lectures and conference presentations have been delivered throughout Ireland and abroad. Engineers have taken important roles in committees within professional bodies.
Staff in ROD’s research and development subsidiary, ROD-IS, are providing commercial services to clients in Ireland, the Middle East, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, and their expert capabilities are contributing to the delivery of ongoing ROD international projects.
ROD has a proven ability to use CPD to compete successfully in Irish and international markets against organisations with significantly larger resources. Our investment in the creation of new products and services through ROD-IS is quite unique and significant expansion has continued since formation in 2009. We recognise that further improvement of our CPD processes is required to maintain competitiveness and we look forward to working with Engineers Ireland in the coming years to achieve the best results possible.
Aonghus O’Keeffe BE MEngSc CEng MIEI is a senior engineer with the Roughan & O’Donovan Bridges Group. He has worked on a wide range of civil engineering projects in Ireland and abroad. O’Keeffe has particular knowledge in the application of IT for engineering and construction. As a member of the ROD CPD Committee, he has strong interests in knowledge sharing and the professional development of colleagues.
CPD Employer of the Year Award 2014
The 2014 search for the CPD-accredited employer that uses formal learning and development to best effect is coming to a close. The aim is to recognise and reward engineering-led organisations which demonstrate best practices in the use of continuing professional development (CPD) to adapt to steps-changes in their operating environments.
The CPD Employer of the Year Awards is the premium award for employers of professional engineers and technicians. Now in its eleventh year, the Awards aim to recognise successful accomplishment of an organisation’s strategic vision through the use of suitable CPD initiatives. This year’s finalists presented their entries to an audience of CPD-accredited employer organisations on Wednesday, 1 October, in Clyde Road. Winners will be announced at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards in the Four Seasons Hotel, Ballsbridge, on Friday, 7 November 2014.
In announcing these awards, Engineers Ireland was saluting organisations that have pioneered new approaches, new processes and new practices. These achievements are of national standing, of sectoral significance and they have sustained and protected thousands of jobs, if you take the totality of what our finalists have achieved.
A stellar selection of entries has been whittled down to just five – the very best of the best. The 2014 finalists comprise:
- RPS Group Ltd;
- GE Healthcare Ireland;
- DePuy Synthes Cork;
- Roughan and O’Donovan Consulting Engineers; and
- Zimmer Orthopedics Manufacturing Limited.