Combilift Trainees with tutor Dominic Connolly.

Engineering a future at Combilift

An information evening on an engineering traineeship at Combilift will be hosted next week.

Now in its 10th year at Combilift, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Engineering Traineeship aims to provide work-based learning in partnership with Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB).

Combilift is a world-leading manufacturer of specialised material handling equipment. Its managing director, Martin McVicar, says the traineeship is a good option given the increased cost of living and accommodation shortages.

“Many students are now asking themselves if they want to go away to college and incur the financial cost of studying away from home,” said Mr McVicar.

He says the traineeship is a "fantastic opportunity" for students to qualify with an internationally recognised QQI Level 5 qualification, locally and in nine short months.

Beginning in September, the OEM Engineering Traineeship consists of 26 weeks of theoretical classroom-based learning in Monaghan Institute. The remaining 12 weeks are made up of practical, hands-on work experience in Combilift.

With certification from City & Guilds in Maintaining Hydraulic systems and QQI at Level 5 in Engineering, the Traineeship offers a good foundation in all of the key skills required for a career in engineering including Control Systems, Hydraulics, Computer Aided Design (2D), Safety & Health at Work, Auto Electricity, Electronics, Engineering Drawing, Team Working, Work Practice & LEAN Engineering Workshop Processes, Engineering Workshop Theory and Word Processing.

“The tutors in Monaghan Institute are very helpful. They’ll talk you through things and help you throughout it. My favourite part of the traineeship would be working here in the factory and getting hands-on experience. I started off with the basics and by the end of the placement I was helping build a whole machine,” says James who participated in the traineeship from 2022-2023.

Over 90% of trainees have successfully gained employment from the course. “It’s applied learning so it’s a very easy process for individuals to achieve their grades, but on top of that there’s great career opportunities, not only within Combilift but within other engineering companies as well,” commented Mr McVicar.

The opportunity to be fast-tracked in a job application to Combilift on completion of the course, has attracted a large number of applications from students in Cavan and Monaghan and neighbouring counties.

“Since the start of the course in 2015 over 120 people have completed the traineeship and the vast majority are still working with us. Several have gained promotions, while others have been sponsored by the company to undertake further study at an apprenticeship or degree level. We have trainee graduates who have progressed and are now completing degree programmes on a part-time basis with Sligo Institute of Technology, and others who have successfully completed the OEM Engineering Apprenticeship Programme.”

A current Combilift employee, who completed the traineeship and apprenticeship and who has gone on to champion women in engineering, feels her future is "limitless".

She said: “Having female engineers helps companies to think outside the box; they are risk-takers who are eager to take on new projects as they believe they have so much to prove."

There are no course fees for the traineeship and trainees are supported by a financial bursary from Combilift in addition to the provision of a tool kit for the duration of the course.

An information evening that will take place on Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30pm in Combilift’s Global Headquarters (Eircode: H18 VP65), applicants will have the opportunity to have a guided tour of Combilift, talk with course tutors as well as past and present trainees and have all their questions answered.

Mr McVicar is advising those interested to apply early given "increased competition for places" on the traineeship in recent years.