With such a strong family ethos running through the core of the business it is no surprise that it has a very small turnover of staff. “We are committed to investing in our staff and their continual professional development – to build a strong and diverse workforce,” said Director, Brian McGivern. “This is underpinned by our Investors in People accreditation which we have held since 2014.
“Our dedicated staff help to generate positive working relationships with both design teams and clients. “All of our Directors are personally and pro-actively involved at every stage of our projects. They manage and oversee the carefully selected contract teams and encourage stakeholder engagement. Building a rapport with stakeholders to ensure repeat business is crucial and forms a huge part of our procurement and tendering processes.’’
And while each job is director- led there are no shortages of opportunities for staff to excel. Brian added, “Staff are empowered to rise to whatever challenge they face. We try to ensure high levels of staff satisfaction as it is important that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Our mission is to provide employees with an honest and helpful working environment, give them responsibility and encourage all of our team to progress through our ongoing training and development plans.’’
All site staff are fully accredited under City & Guilds or NVQ and encouraged to look to continual professional development. A number of employees have also completed Level 5, 6 & 7 NVQ’s, Masters degrees and became Chartered members of their relevant construction bodies. Andrew is a prime example of the opportunities on offer to all staff at Killowen Contracts. He joined the company as a graduate in 2007 and has progressed to take on the role of Director following completion of a number of professional development programmes, including an MSc in Construction & Project Management.
“The company has extremely low levels of staff turnover. A lot of people have joined Killowen in my time but not too many have left as we have expanded. This is testament to the family ethos and team approach implemented not only by Brian, Damien and Maurice but also John and Noel before them,” said Andrew.
“I have been afforded many great opportunities by them and always given the chance to take on responsibility and accountability, while working on some very technical builds. Everyone at the company buys into the team culture and desires to complete projects to the highest standards of workmanship.’’
Killowen has worked to develop an integrated management system, internationally certified under ISO9001, ISO14001 & OHSAS18001. They are also a Gold Level Constructionline member and are looking to increase their certification going forward.
As well as investing in their staff, Killowen Contracts also takes its place within the South Down community very seriously. “We have a strong belief in sustainability and investment in the local community,” said Maurice McGivern. “We want to deliver social, economic and environmental value on all projects, therefore maximising the positive impact we have on the communities we work in.” Killowen currently works closely with a number of local schools including St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint in delivering the Career Ready Programme for students, preparing them for working life after school and further education.
Maurice noted, ‘’These programmes are great and offer students the chance to experience working life before they enrol in further education. At the minute, we have a graduate, part-time student and a work experience student and will look to help them develop in their earliest years of employment.’’
The company also sponsors the school’s Young Enterprise Programme, along with a number of other schools and sports teams.
Damien added, ‘As a company, we continually look to invest in the local community and help out where we can. Whether it be through sponsorship or through provision of opportunities for site visits and tours, we will try to accommodate as much as we can.’’