Brendan Mc Laughlin- MSc. In Quality

Name: Brendan McLaughlin

Job Title: Quality Manager

Course Name: MSc. In Quality

Can you share your career path to date?  

When I first left college I worked in Quality in a plastics factory in Cork gaining excellent experience in Injection Moulding, Extrusion and Quality Systems. I then moved into the field of medical devices with B. Braun in Collooney, they specialise in a range of sterile wound dressings, gels and pastes. I then broadened my experience in this sector by moving to Vention Medical where they specialised in the extrusion of single and multi-lumen tubing for the sector, assembly of medical devices for third parties and production of their own medical devices such as angiography catheters for the coronary care sector. I then move to Elanco, which is the veterinary division of Eli Lilly & Company, which manufactured inactivated and modified live vaccines for companion animals worldwide. After a spell back at B. Braun as the Quality Assurance Manager, I moved to my current position in Prior PLM Medical Ltd. Prior PLM Medical are an innovative Irish-owned company that provides a range of services throughout the medical device product lifecycle. These include research, product development, injection mould manufacturing and manufacturing of medical device components.  

What does your current role involve? 

Continuous improvement of the Quality Management System to ISO 13485. Streamlining existing processes to increase efficiencies

 What motivated you to start studying?

Whilst working in England in the banking sector after leaving school, there was a downturn in the economy. This prompted me to go back to college.

Why did you choose this course from ATU Sligo? 

I previously did the BSc. In Quality Management at the same college, which was a full-time course.

 How did you find the process of studying online? What elements did you find helpful? Were there elements you found challenging?

I found the ATU Sligo very well equipped for online learning. Moodle was an excellent method of delivering their courses. Elements I found challenging were that sometimes you would get delayed when loading files on Moodle due to the file size. However, this was easily resolved.

How did you balance work and study?

With support from my wife and ensuring I had enough time for a bit of keeping fit.  

In terms of your employer, were they supportive of your decision to study? Were there elements of the course that were particularly relevant to your current employer?

My employer at the time was very supportive. Yes, the elements covered included validation and statistical quality control which were very relevant at Elanco at the time.

What advice would you have for anyone considering studying online?

Give it a go; the sooner you start, the sooner you can see the finishing line. Often there is never a perfect time to do it, so putting it off does not help. Once you get the first few assignments in and link up with others doing the course, everything will fall into place. The majority of companies want to develop their employees and they will support further education, which can bring many benefits to the employer too.

In what way has studied online with ATU Sligo benefitted your career?

It has helped me to embrace new technology. IT has developed rapidly over the past decade, so if there is a reliable IT solution which makes people’s jobs more effectively and efficiently, I would be looking to use it. Also, I would be aware of the talent pool which ATU Sligo rolls out annually both from those looking for work experience as part of their course and those fully qualified and looking to get into employment.

Did this course provide any unexpected benefits to your career?

Attaining a level 9 Master’s qualification, in such a relevant subject, has opened the door to managerial roles and helped to progress my career.

Did you find that the elements you were studying had practical relevance in your day-to-day role?

Yes, problem-solving was evident throughout the course and how tools such as Minitab or value stream mapping could be used to improve processes and make them more robust is something that I have used extensively in the past.

What were the key skills you took away from your time studying at ATU Sligo?

From my time at ATU Sligo,  one of the key skills I have taken away is the ability to look at a process objectively. Highlight its strengths and its weaknesses and work with the process owner to make it more robust.

Learn more about the MSc in Quality