Opening a Door to Innovation
The KTP between Smiths Engineering and Queen’s University Belfast has enabled the company to develop, design, testing and manufacturing skills to open new markets. Smiths began as a family firm, run with a family ethos, and that’s still what we are. In the early days the company was primarily involved with the automotive industry but through the years they have grown into other sectors and now have five divisions.
Barry Lynam studied for a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and he joined the KTP programme just after graduation in 2014. He had heard about KTP from his lecturers and was keen to find a project that suited him and his skills. The KTP has allowed Smiths Engineering to put a lot more focus on their processes and Barry has been instrumental in managing a programme of change to deliver increased precision, cost and quality. The programme has exceeded his expectations. Barry says
One of the big things is seeing first hand how industry works. I had the theoretical knowledge from my degree but to apply that, to extend my understanding in practical terms – I’ve been doing that from day one. There are competitors out there and the thing that helps us stand apart is the quality of our product and my role is to keep it that way. I highly recommend KTP to other graduates – it offers an opportunity to develop yourself at a very early stage in your career.
The company’s Managing Director, Darwin Smith took a long view for the KTP programme
The plan always was to have someone who would come on board and stay. Barry brought another way of looking at things. He even put together an electronic sales order system which has made things more efficient an activity that was never on the original plan. He’s also developing his leadership skills, how to interact with the team. You don’t get that in a lecture theatre. So we’re learning together. It’s a great relationship.