Shaping the next generation of engineers

Published 12th October 2022

27-year-old Kai Wang, an Assistant Mechanical Engineer, left his hometown in China to begin his Master’s in Dublin and has gone from strength to strength in his career ever since. Here he explains what it means to be working for a truly multi-cultural and inclusive company.

I grew up in the Zhejiang Province (southeast of China) and came to Ireland in June 2017 to study my Master’s degree. That was the first time I had ever left my home country and I was also the first person from my family to leave China. Life in Dublin is totally different from China, mostly in terms of the food and culture, not to mention the language barrier between the local people. This did mean that everything was a bit difficult for me to begin with, but now I am quite used to the environment and have made many new, enthusiastic friends.

Working in a thriving industry

I completed my eight-month internship as a Student Mechanical Engineer with Waterman Moylan in 2018 and came back to work on a full-time basis in June 2019 after I graduated from University College Dublin (UCD), achieving a Master of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering.

The reason I chose to study Mechanical Engineering (ME) is that there are a wide range of sub-disciplines to specialise in, such as marine, aerospace or automobile engineering, not to mention countless others. Depending on your interests, a career in engineering can take you to some interesting places such as deserts, oil rigs, deep sea environments or even within the power and automotive industries. I chose Building Services because, like all other engineered products, completed buildings must fulfil the function for which they were designed. They must do more than provide shelter from the heat, cold, sun, wind and rain; they must also provide a safe and healthy environment in which people can live and work. Building Services Engineers are the people who make this happen by creatively applying scientific principles to design the buildings we need, which is why I want to be a Building Services Engineer in the future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have had the chance to work with some great engineers on a range of challenging and exciting projects. One of the many reasons why I chose to work for Moylan is because my colleagues are very friendly, and the ME team is very united. We help each other both in and out of work and it is my team members that have helped me grow from being a student with basic knowledge to being able to complete complex day-to-day tasks. I would like to say a big thank you to our Associate, Alan Brophy, who is always so patient when teaching me to deal with any difficulties in my daily work. Especially as a non-EU team member, I feel like everyone is taking care of me and have even started celebrating Spring Festival (also known as the Chinese or Lunar New Year) each year because of me. It is delightful to see the office growing into a multi-cultural haven, full of people from many different backgrounds collaborating towards shared goals.

As an Assistant Mechanical Engineer, my main duty is to prepare the mechanical tender and construction drawings and documents for key projects such as Whitethorn Village, Graydon Newcastle and Mercer Vale, which are all residential developments for Cairn Homes across Ireland. I am also a Building Energy Rating (BER) Assessor which means I prepare and publish provisional and final BERs by taking into consideration the annual energy usage, CO2 emissions and energy costs of a home.

Becoming part of a family-style company

As an ME team, we have been working on some very exciting and challenge projects and I get a great sense of achievement each time the design of a project is completed. It makes me feel that I am making a valid contribution to building a better living environment for the people who go on to occupy the buildings. It makes my life feel more meaningful, especially when it comes to impressive projects such as the Donegal Primary Care Centre in Drumlonagher, which is a four-storey building including a HSE demise, ambulance station and GP quarters. I learnt a lot from this project, such as how to detail ductwork in AutoCAD, and I also completed part of the scheme’s heating, ventilation, water services and drainage with the help of my group leader, Alan. The ventilation services design was particularly complicated, so it added to my sense of achievement that I was able to be involved in its development.

Since joining Waterman Moylan, I have felt that it is a family-style company where I can build a career and know they will support me. That’s why I’m striving to work hard and prove myself so I can progress as my career develops. I want to take on more opportunities and projects that allow me to work with like-minded people and share their success, and I know this is a place where I can grow into a more senior position in the coming years.

When it comes to considering a career in engineering, being a Building Services Engineer allows you to design and install all of the working components inside a building, from the lighting to the plumbing. This means I use my creativity, problem-solving and engineering skills to come up with innovative and, ideally, eco-friendly interior system designs that will be used by hundreds of people every single day. It is a growing industry and will definitely develop vigorously in the future, so there’s no better time to start getting involved.

Kai Wang