Meet our new industry placement engineer!

It’s a commonly known fact that there is a growing skill shortage within STEM industries with Gartner estimating there will be a shortage of 90,000 IT professionals by 2020 in Europe alone.

In the engineering sector, Engineering UK claimed that this shortage in the technical and engineering field will be even higher with the UK needing to find 182,000 people with engineering skills every year to 2022 to simply meet requirements.

Recognising that, as an industry, we need to do more to attract and train specialists last year Keysource launched its apprenticeship program. Whilst this has proved successful, we also knew we needed to do more.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills attributes the growing shortage to a reduced number of students studying IT and technology subjects. Within the critical environments sector, we find that this is compounded by a lack of awareness of the data centre sector as a career route – even among those who have chosen engineering subjects.

In order to combat this Keysource has launched a University outreach program to inform studying students about the sector and also offering industrial placements to students studying technology and engineering subjects.

Last week we were joined by our first placement student from the University of Bath, Garth Jackson. We sat down with him to understand what he was hoping to gain from the program.

What are you studying?

I am studying towards a Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. I’ve just completed my second year and wanted to gain practical application experience.

What attracted you to engineering and what do you most enjoy?

I have always enjoyed and excelled in Maths and Physics, however I’ve preferred the more practical applications and projects, which in turn lead me to pursue engineering. I enjoy problem solving the most, finding simple solutions to complex problems.

What attracted you to Keysource?

I was attracted to Keysource as they specialise in a relatively niche field of engineering, and one that I was unaware of on my University course. Their placement program has been built to ensure you can gain experience working throughout the entire company. This was an opportunity I had not seen advertised anywhere else and will provide a unique experience.

What will you be working on or look forward to working on and learning?

Throughout the placement I will mainly be working as a part of their Consultancy team, however I will get the opportunity to work in other departments such as small systems and facilities management. I am most looking forward to getting involved in a project, seeing how the whole company functions and how different departments communicate and coordinate together. My main aim is to contribute as much as I can and be seen as a valued member of the team.

What are your future aspirations?

After placement I aim to graduate from the Master’s program with a degree classification of at least 2:1. Finding a job in a field that I feel I can make a difference in and become a well-respected engineer.

In order to raise the profile of the data centre and critical engineering sector to students, our consultants will be taking part in lectures and career fairs across the UK.  If you are a University or studying student and would like to know more about our University outreach program please email [email protected].

Keysource secures trio of data centre contracts

Furthering our commercial success in the education, technology and utilities sectors, we have secured new contracts to support three customers’ changing data centre needs. 

The new contracts will see us deploy our expertise of working in live environments to deliver projects and services for the University of Leicester, cloud hosting provider brightsolid, and a major utilities company

For the University of Leicester, we will deliver a significant upgrade to the critical cooling infrastructure across its data centres, to support an increase in capacity and maintain high efficiency. The works will keep the institution at the forefront of best practice and discovery-led research. It is our latest contract in a partnership with the university, which has seen us operate the institution’s data centre estate since 2008.

Leading Scottish cloud hosting and colocation provider brightsolid, has appointed us to continue to deliver industry leading critical environment facilities management services for its Tier III Design Certified data centre in Aberdeen. The extended contract follows the first phase of the project, which we delivered in 2015, and has seen strong demand for the facility’s high specification.

We will also continue to deliver on a relationship dating back to 2010 with a major utilities company to carry out the design & build of a data centre at a critical site. The project will see our team work under strict site constraints due to high security and business critical nature of the facility. 

Stephen Whatling, MD at Keysource, said:

“As the market for the expansion and improvement of existing facilities remains strong, we’re enjoying growing demand for our expertise in working in challenging, live environments. These contracts demonstrate that our strategy of forming long term partnerships with customers, continues to produce repeat business opportunities, while helping them to remain at the forefront of efficient data centre design and operation.”

University of Leicester appoints Keysource to provide Critical FM

Keysource, the expert in business critical environments, has been appointed by the University of Leicester on a three-year extendable contract to provide critical data centre facilities management (FM) services. It builds on a seven-year relationship which started in 2009 when Keysource designed and built the University’s award winning data centre which they then expanded in 2011, almost doubling it in size.

Under the terms of the new deal Keysource will provide a seamless, responsive and proactive management of the maintenance services for the data centres in line with the University’s own strategic plan. This will include providing specialist auditing and monitoring of energy efficiency levels so that the University can both reduce operational costs and meet carbon footprint targets. The service will be based on a clear framework focusing on data centre best practice, leveraging the ITIL methodology and Keysource’s new CAFM system.

Additional support will be provided during August and September when the University is at its busiest with student applications. During this time Keysource will undertake Critical Window Pre-Health Checks on the infrastructure to ensure the data centres are working at optimum standards, whilst Critical Facilities Engineers will be stationed within close proximity to the University. This will facilitate a rapid response in the event of any issues and minimise the risk of downtime.

Keysource will also provide a series of regular service and strategic reviews to ensure that energy efficiency certificates are achieved. The team will also be responsible for cleaning sensitive data centre alarms and conducting an upgrade to the University’s business management services systems so that data centre cooling can be managed centrally.

Stuart Poulton, Systems Specialist (Infrastructure) at Leicester University said,

“Our data centres are becoming increasingly important with the growth of digital content, therefore Keysource will be providing a crucial service by not only helping us to ensure we meet energy efficiency targets but also keep our data services up and running at all times.”

Mike West, CEO at Keysource, commented,

“We have built a successful partnership with the University of Leicester over the last seven years and we welcome the opportunity to continue to strengthen our relationship. We believe this will help to ensure excellence in delivery and this collaborative approach, where we proactively share knowledge, will help the University to deliver on its strategic plans.”

Richard Clifford, Data Centre Consultant at Keysource, added,

“Being associated with such a prestigious academic institution is something that we relish and we will commit all of our resources to making this new contract another success.”


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