We Are Randox | Armagh GAA forward Stefan Campbell
One of our favourite things about our We Are Randox series of staff interviews is the opportunity we are given to find out about the unique and interesting talents of our colleagues.
From creative bakers to melodious musicians, motivated Girl Guide leaders to athletic sportspeople, many of our staff are just as busy outside of the office as they are in it.
Take Tender Coordinator Stefan Campbell for instance. By day Stefan spends time identifying potential business for the company – conducting local and global searches, collating technical specifications and compiling financial information – but in the evenings and weekends he’s impressively one of the forwards for the Armagh Senior Footballers, a Gaelic Football team that competes at an all-Ireland level.
We caught up with Stefan to find out about his intense training regime, his goals for the future of his GAA career, and of course his advice for the newly-formed Randox GAA team!
Here’s Stefan’s story.
I suppose Gaelic Football has always run through the different generations of my family so it was only natural that I began playing at a young age. My brother John played for our local club Clan Na Gael, so after having played for St. Pauls Lurgan, I then moved to Clan Na Gael where he played. I’ve now been a member there for 16 years.
Our County Club, Armagh, then won their first All-Ireland Championship in 2002, with a team that included two players from Clan Na Gael, and so I was inspired to try out for my county myself. The rest as they say, is history.
I’m currently in my 7th season with the Armagh Senior Footballers, after having played for the U18 and U21 squads. My position is usually full forward, alongside two other team mates, however I do often rotate amongst the total line-up of 6 forwards.
Obviously being a forward I am expected to score in each game, and to give you an idea of figures I have had two games in the last week in which I scored 8 points against Antrim and 3 points against Monaghan. I therefore have to make sure to refine my skills in terms of scoring, passing, and timing of the tackle, but there is also quite a lot of emphasis on just simply working hard and putting in the effort to train, as it is an incredibly physical game. Typically, a county team trains 4 nights a week with 2 sessions being in the gym and 2 on the field, at the Callanbridge facility in Armagh.
I’ve played in the opening 3 games of The Dr McKenna Cup (a Gaelic Football competition between counties and universities in Ulster) thus far, and need to make sure I keep up my training so that I remain in the team for the upcoming matches. There is a lot of pressure coming from other very talented squad members, looking for their opportunity to impress, so I have to be on top form.
In the short-term, we have The Dr McKenna Cup Final against Tyrone this Saturday (in which I’m obviously hoping for a win!) and in the longer term I’m really hoping I can win an Armagh Championship with Clan Na Gael. I would also love to secure an Ulster Championship win with Armagh, which is a title I’m still searching for, even though I won the Railway Cup in 2017 playing for Ulster.
The Railway Cup is an annual tournament steeped in history, as it dates back as far as 1927. There is such a large pool of players to choose from when forming an Ulster team, so I know my family was very proud when I was selected, and even more so when we went on to defeat Connaught in the final. I loved the opportunity to play alongside teammates I’m usually competing against.
Another highlight of my GAA career was when I played Gaelic Football in New York, over the course of two summers. Although GAA is an Irish organisation, Gaelic Football is played all over the world in countries such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia and the USA, albeit at a lower level than it is played back home. Local players are poached and asked if they would be interested in playing for a particular team in the summer, while they set you up with a job and accommodation. In 2015 I was asked to play for Kerry New York and in 2017 for Westmeath New York, and I found the temptation to spend 3 months abroad, basically free of charge, too good to turn down.
For the record though, GAA is an amateur organisation and therefore as players we don’t get paid to do what we do. Don’t get me wrong, it has its perks, like the unique opportunity to play live on Sky or on the BBC, but ultimately, we play for the love of the sport, while representing our families and communities. It’s this passion that drives me each week to train consistently and improve my skills, even after a day’s work at the Randox office. I do often have long days during which I leave work, go straight to training, and arrive home at about 10.45pm, but it’s something I’m used to and prepare for accordingly. I will say though that it’s extremely difficult to get out of bed on Mondays having played a game the previous day!
As luck will have it, joining Randox means that I now have the opportunity to bring my two careers together, as the company has recently established its own GAA team, which recently competed in the FinTru Ulster Inter-Firms Competition. I don’t see any reason, that with a bit of luck, and the experience we now have from last year, why we can’t get bigger and better and reach this year’s final.
My advice would be to get the squad together as often as our other commitments will allow, to give us more time to polish up our skills, but also, importantly, to become more familiar with our teammates from other departments. I have often found that the most successful teams are not always the most talented, but those with a tighter bond – as they understand their fellow players, can anticipate their game play, and are willing to work that bit harder for one another.
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For further information please contact Randox PR by emailing email@example.com
“Have you always known that you wanted to be an Engineer?”
“Is there opportunity for career progression and promotion within Engineering?”
“So you do for the Randox machines what app developers do for smartphones?”
These were just some of the astute and intriguing questions posed by students of Dungannon Integrated College, Drumcree College Portadown, and St Ciaran’s Ballygawley, to our Randox Software Engineer, Ciara Shaw, at Armagh Planetarium’s Ask A Scientist Event on Friday 18th November.
The event took place as part of Science Week 2016, organised by the Science Foundation Ireland, and the day took the format of a Speed Networking session. Students each spent 10 minutes chatting with a scientist, asking them all the questions they’ve ever wanted to know about careers in STEM, and then moved on to the next candidate!
This year the event had a particularly exciting twist – all the scientists involved were women!
Ciara was one of a group of nine women with a career in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – who took the time to meet with the students in attendance to chat to them about working in STEM.
As a hard-working and proud engineer, Ciara took the opportunity to inspire young women to take up STEM subjects for their GCSEs and A-Levels.
Currently, only 9% of the UK’s engineering and technology workforce is made up of women, a statistic which Ciara highlighted in her key note speech at the Ask A Scientist event.
Following the event, she commented;
“I’ve always been interested in IT and Engineering and so it surprises me that only 9% of the engineering and technology workforce in the UK is made up of women. I wanted to showcase to the pupils at the Ask A Scientist Event today that working in STEM is an exciting and valid career choice for women as much as it is for men. At Randox alone there are opportunities to work across a wide range of STEM disciplines – software developers and testers, IT support, engineers, research scientists, mathematicians working in finance and accounts…the list goes on. I hope that through today’s event I was able to encourage some pupils to choose to study STEM subjects at school, so that they can aspire to these jobs in their future.”
Chatting to the pupils in their Q&A sessions, Ciara found the pupils had aspirations in abundance.
“One pupil told me they wanted to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon, and another said they were going to be an Architectural Engineer. It was amazing getting the chance to listen to their hopes and plans for the future, and hopefully by answering their questions, helping them get on the path to achieving their goals.”
Joining Ciara at the event were representatives from the CSI Service of the PSNI; Siobhan Stevenson, Head of Collections Care at National Museums Northern Ireland; Kerry, Heather and Sam, Education Support Officers at the Armagh Planeatarium; and a number of PhD students currently carrying out their research at Armagh Observatory, including Eliceth Rojas-Montes, who gave a key note speech on her astronomy research.
Each scientist was able to provide the students with an insight into their line of work, and similarly share their experiences and knowledge with the other scientists!
Juie Shetye, PhD student at Armagh Observatory, said she was delighted to be able learn about different areas of science from the other scientists and engineers.
And Ciara agreed.
“Each area of science is so niche that our areas of work are worlds apart,” she commented.
“It’s been an extremely enjoyable day celebrating the work of Women in STEM and being positive role models for young women considering a job in the STEM industries.”
For more information about this event please contact our PR team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For current STEM vacancies at Randox, please visit our Careers website.