Quality Technician – Keltech
How have you come to live in Ireland South East?
I moved to Ireland because my own country, Croatia, is in a deep recession and employment opportunities and career advancements are limited. I came to Ireland South East because I already had friends who moved here and loved it.
What do you like best about Ireland South East?
I live right at the edge of Waterford City and I love everything this great city has to offer. The city is nearby yet I’m far enough from the busy centre, so I can go for a late walk in the quiet and peaceful streets. At this stage I don’t own a car, so I cycle everywhere – this is a great way to discover surrounding areas and the many picturesque sceneries.
“The cost of living and quality of life here is brilliant. We have made this a nice home for ourselves and are surrounded by friends.”
Tell us about your career?
I was unsure of what career path to take when I finished school, so I decided to enrol in an interior design course. I liked it, but I knew my potential laid in technical qualities rather than artistic. I then enrolled in an Engineering course in Croatia. I was one of the few girls there, which was a big difference coming from the design course where it was completely the opposite. I put that to the back of my mind and immersed myself in the programme and gained my qualification. I began working with a local Croatian engineering firm. Soon after the Croatian economy really began to struggle, my partner Zeljko, and I decided to emigrate to find suitable employment.
After arriving in Waterford, I began looking for opportunities in the Engineering sector. Keltech instantly appealed to me as a company because they supply complex fabrications to OEM’s of construction equipment across Europe. In my previous role I had visited Bauma in 2016 (world’s biggest trade fair for construction machinery) and had been amazed by the machinery I saw. The idea of working for a company whom supplied critical components used in this equipment for top brands was thrilling. After a successful application I found
myself working in the Keltech Quality Engineering team a short few weeks later.
Working in Keltech is stimulating as there is always something new to learn. Keltech’s machine profile and processes are excellent. Here we take a flat piece of sheet steel and process it right through the factory until we have a painted fully fitted out hydraulic tank for a dumper truck, a fuel tank for an excavator or an operator cabin for a forklift. It’s fascinating to know where this product is going and the type of equipment it will be fitted to.
With increased market growth for Keltech I have found myself almost fully devoted to the quality checking of new parts. I’m mostly working on new samples; carrying out FAI and dimensional reports as part of the PPAP process. Tolerance allowances tend to be very tight as most of these parts will fit directly into the machine chassis. It’s my role to ensure that the parts we have fabricated are within customer specification, particularly regarding internal cleanliness and external paintwork. Part of my initial training was on the portable CMM (Faro Arm) which I use along with other manual inspection equipment to verify that that parts exceed customer expectations.
What are the benefits of living in Ireland South East?
The cost of living and quality of life here is brilliant. We have made this a nice home for ourselves and are surrounded by friends. Here you can get more sun than anywhere else in the country, which is keeping people in a more optimistic and relaxed state. My family in Croatia do not feel that far away, as Dublin Airport is less than 2 hours away using the motorway.
Can you tell us a secret about Ireland South East or a favourite place that people might not know?
I have a friend who moved to Dungarvan, to a typical Irish countryside house, with cows right outside his window and a small wooden bridge going over a creek at the entrance to the estate. I fell absolutely in love with the serenity of that place. I really enjoy the Greenway cycle to Dungarvan as well. The landscape is amazing and the sense of freedom you feel is incredible.
What would be your advice for young females who are thinking of pursuing a career in engineering?
Don’t let anyone convince you that this career has anything to do with gender. If you’re doing something you love and excited about, everyone is going to notice that. We, females, are much stronger than we sometimes get credit for, but the only one who is usually in our way, is ourselves. Trust your intuition. I can only hope that in few years’ time women in engineering is the norm and not the exception.