What is your career background?
I’ve being working in the council almost nine years now. I moved from Galway City Council to Galway County Council a year ago. It’s the same role but closer to home.
I’m a qualified carpenter and when the downturn came, I got a role as a general operative with Galway City Council. I spent four years in water services as a General Operative and from that I got a regional Trainer role through Irish Water and the LA working across 3 local authorities, for a further 3 years. That was great experience for me, working with Clare County Council, Galway City Council and Galway County Council. Two years ago, I acquired the Craft Foreman role in housing.
What does your role involve?
Galway County is split into three district areas in housing and there is a housing maintenance crew for each, employed by the council. I supervise the crew in my area. We contract out electrical and plumbing works but do all the other work ourselves.
Day-to-day, I meet the crews in the morning and assign jobs for the day. We also work on voids – vacant houses that we bring back to use. Our small maintenance crew is turning over properties at a great rate. We’ve built up a good team and it’s great because once the houses are brought up to a good standard, they’re maintenance-free for years.
So, for the crews, part of the week could be working in a vacant house, part of it could be doing maintenance in an occupied house.
We get maintenance requests daily, so I manage those, contact the tenants to find out what the problems are or call out to inspect and investigate. I would also order materials, manage invoices and payments, look after timesheets and health and safety.
What are the most rewarding things about working for a local authority?
Generally, you are solving someone’s problem – whether it’s a leak, broken heating, you’re getting it sorted out and people are very thankful, most of the time.
Bringing vacant properties back into use is really rewarding. It’s great to see the handover and a family moving in, they’re thrilled and that’s really nice for us.
Why should someone consider a career with a local authority?
I would definitely recommend a job with a local authority, one hundred percent. There are great opportunities to advance. If you put in the work, it’s seen and there are opportunities through interview.
You get the chance to upskill as well; you can do courses like first aid, health and safety, truck license, trainer courses etc. – these courses can benefit you outside of your work as well (i.e. occupational first aid). All the training is great for the next opportunity or interview.