Transforming competency training and supply chain compliance in the construction industry

by | Dec 23, 2023

Co-founder and co-CEO of Skillko Brendan Maloney is pictured above 

Brendan Maloney, the co-founder and co-CEO of Skillko, embarked on a journey to solve a prevalent issue plaguing the construction and utility industries, the inefficiency and frustration surrounding training, competency management, and supply chain compliance.

His foray into the tech world stemmed from his experience in the utility space across the UK and Ireland, where he realised the dire need for streamlined processes.

“A lot of the problems we were seeing in utilities and construction were around inductions, training and competency management from the minor stuff of managing certificates, excel management and inductions, to getting to a point of knowing who’s trained and competent at the point of service was a massive issue,” he says.

“We were spending thousands of hours a year in needless administration on outdated processes such as excel sheets or ‘bolt on systems’ that were just never accurate, which was a huge problem.”

“Everyone was annoyed, frustrated all the time,” he adds. “Never mind the fact that we were constantly hiring people to do these administrative jobs.”

Then in 2015 he began to research up to 400 other companies across Ireland and the UK to find a solution. Instead, he created one.

In 2017, he co-founded Skillko with Dermot O’Connor, introducing a Software as a Service (SaaS) product aimed at transforming training, competency and compliance management.

Starting as a training and management platform, within two years in 2019 Skillko began to grow rapidly, “every year we’re growing at approximately 140 per cent year-on-year since commercialising Skillko early 2019,” he says.

Thus far the growth has been entirely organic, with growth expanding the footprint of their operations to include clients with operations across Europe. The ambitious firm remains firm in its roots.

“We’re an Irish company in every sense,” says Brendan. “I’m from Westport myself in which we’re headquartered and Dermot is in Malahide where we have offices. Irish construction and utilities companies are global leaders, usually founded in Ireland, growing to the UK and then beyond.”

“It’s incredible what our clients have done and are doing,” he says. “We are on a similar journey, albeit as a SaaS Tech business. Being involved in the CIF is important to us, it shows that their members have the option of a home-grown product in Ireland, rather than having to bring in outsourced product offerings.”

Skillko’s success is founded on its ability to address industry pain points comprehensively for the Irish and UK markets.

Initially tackling training management compliance, “removing admin around certificates and training management”, he says, the company progressed to digitising induction and onboarding processes,

“ensuring users are inducted either into a site or into a company and streamlining the competency lifecycle of that user from there on.”

The most recent addition to Skillko’s suite is supply chain compliance management, designed to ensure companies’ supply chains meet regulatory standards, ISO Standards and client requirements.

This innovative approach has garnered significant attention, with the product currently in testing with select clients, poised for a widespread launch in 2024.

“A company is able to see from their supply chain element, when bringing on a sub-contractor that their information such as insurance, financial, safety, quality, environmental, sustainability etc is in date and meet company requirements,” he says.

“The entire onboarding approval and sign off is all through this feature, that then allows the sub-contractor to fold into our existing product to onboard and share their staff with the client on projects.

“We will enable a company to ensure their subcontractors are approved to work for them and the staff they share are compliant to complete work at the point of service.”

“Next year is a massive year for us in terms of scalability and how we’re allowing a company to streamline all of their supply chain compliance and the supply chain staff compliance all in one location,” he adds.

“By the end of next year, the majority of utility companies in Ireland and the UK will be on our platform.”

When asked of the impact Skillko has had on their business operations, Brendan Kearns, Director at Designer Group, says: “Since  introducing Skillko a number of years ago, we instantly saw administration time reduced around our competency and training compliance.”

He describes how the onboarding and induction feature reduced by as much as 60 per cent the time in onboarding people.

Looking forward he says: “We are currently trailing Skillko supply chain compliance and adding our SCORM files to enhance our internal training offering even further.

Skillko listens to our ideas, enhancements and discusses the solutions in line with their roadmap.”

One of Skillko’s significant achievements is its commitment to being selffunded. The strategic decision taken by the two co-founders to avoid external investment grants them the autonomy to focus on client needs, product enhancement, and a customercentric approach.

Their growth is not only a testament to the value they offer but also to their dedication to solving industry challenges without being driven by external influences.

Skillko’s core mission remains unwavering – to eliminate administrative burdens around competency training and supply chain compliance.

With a dedicated team and a firm commitment to technological innovation, Skillko continues to set new standards in an industry demanding efficient and reliable solutions.

As they navigate the year ahead, marked by exponential growth and the impending shift in compliance standards, Skillko stands at the forefront, ready to empower businesses in the construction and utility sectors across Europe.

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