Job Expo

Christopher Lawless

Apprentice Mentor at Suir Engineering

I FIRST WORKED with Suir Engineering as a 3rd Year Apprentice Electrician for a subcontractor on The Shires (now MSD) project in Dunboyne in 2018 and from the start I was aware that it was on a different level to what I had experienced up to that point, in terms of how they approach things on site and in the level of quality they aspire to. After about 3 months I moved over to Suir (the sub-contractor I worked for ceased trading) as a direct employee and finished out the final year of my apprenticeship working in MSD Swords, from the beginning of the fit-out, right through to the facility going live. The experience I gained on this site really raised my trade skills to a whole new level and that was down to the people I worked under, the lads I worked with and the structures that Suir Engineering put in place. I can honestly say I really enjoy working for Suir and I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way.

MY EXPERIENCE WORKING in construction is not the most conventional. I tried college for a year, Construction Studies, straight out of school but at 17 it didn’t really fit with my dreams of playing football professionally (reach for the stars and all that). I started serving my time shortly after that, about 19, but by then I was playing League of Ireland with Dundalk FC and it was always down on my list of priorities. After about 18 months and not being registered, something I didn’t really push very hard on, I parted ways with the company and focused solely on the football, working different jobs to supplement my income but due to injuries and loss of form, in 2004, I decided to travel and I worked in Australia as a General Labourer and in Boston, as an Electricians mate before returning to Ireland in late 2007, just in time for the recession. I tried to get back to my Apprenticeship, working domestic as a GO for an Electrical Contractor for a year but nobody wanted to take on Apprentices and so I left the industry for almost 10 years, until at the ripe old age of 34 decided it was now or never and took the leap, a 1st year Apprentice earning €240 a week, best decision I ever made.

I TOOK THE LONG WAY ROUND but for the 10 years I was away from the electrical work, there was always something in the back of my mind saying I had missed out, so when I made the decision to go back at 34, it wasn’t taken lightly, it’s hard to get by on €240 a week, living in Dublin and paying a mortgage, but with the support of my now wife, I knew I had to do it or the chance would be lost. I knew I wanted to be an Electrician, I love the work, love the challenge and the responsibility that comes with the job and I intend to bring that passion for the work to my role as Apprentice Mentor to give the next bunch of lads as good an education as I got in the trade.

I LOVE FOOTBALL and wish I was still able to play, so it’s a spectator sport for me now. WE ARE LEEDS!

NOW I SPEND MY SPARE TIME working on a bit of DIY around the house, golfing, or at least something vaguely resembling golf, a bit of reading if I can and a few pints with mates if I’m allowed. Happy wife, happy life.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I’m married to the lovely Roisin, 6 years there in January and we have two beautiful daughters, Julia who is almost 4 and Carla, who is halfway through the terrible 2'smonths, so life is pretty hectic but its great. I am back living in ‘D Town’ or Dundalk as its also known, and it’s great to be back in my hometown.

8 years or so in Dublin is long enough for anyone.

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