CIF & SERSF run careers in construction workshop in WIT

05 Jul 2017

The CIF South East Branch have been engaged in a number of initiatives recently to help promote careers in the construction industry. By CIF Executive for the Southern Region Ronan O’Brien.

Despite the levels of construction activity still being relatively low in the south east with a high dependency upon work outside the south east for CIF members in the region, the CIF South East Branch acknowledge the need to promote careers in the construction industry to prevent a skills shortage in the future. Indeed there is a growing pipeline of projects in the South East with the New Ross and Enniscorthy By-Passes in Wexford and the North Quays investment, the redevelopment of the Ard Ri hotel and the new shopping centre in Waterford.

The CIF in partnership with the South East Regional Skills Forum (SERSF) (of which Enda Cullen, HR Development Manager with Winthrop Engineering is the CIF representative) ran a workshop to address the skills shortage for the construction sector in the south east in the WIT Arena, Waterford. CIF members from general contracting and mechanical & electrical backgrounds attended the workshop with Dermot Carey, CIF Director of Safety & Training acting as the Facilitator.

Enda Cullen says: “the SERSF is an important opportunity to engage with the state education  providers to ensure that they offer the education supports that the  construction sector requires in the region.  One of the strategic objectives of the SERSF is to, ‘ensure greater collaboration and utilisation of resources across the education and training system … .’ The regional focus is a new approach and will enable this objective to be progressed more meaningfully for members.”

Edmond Connolly, Manager of the SERSF noted: “ the key task for the construction sector is to identify what particular responses they would support and would give the best return in terms of skills development and to clearly communicate this to the education & training providers, namely the Institutes of Technology and the Education & Training Boards. The SERSF is endeavouring to facilitate this task.”

The workshop identified a site foreman training course as being of benefit to companies in the region. Also 1-3 day courses in air tightness, insulation, site preparation, foundations etc would also be of benefit. Expanding the Apprenticeship sharing scheme (following its successful pilot in the South East) would also help increase the numbers of apprentices. The promotion of careers in construction in schools was also found to be important.

To help promote careers in construction, myself along with CIF members Clancy Construction, BAM, SISK and Priority construction attended the Waterford Institute of Technology’s International Construction Management Day. Undergraduate from WIT as well as students from local schools in Tipperary and Waterford attended the event. The companies in attendance gave presentations on their graduate programmes and some recent WIT graduates talked about their experiences of studying Construction Management & Engineering at WIT and the great building & civil engineering projects that they have worked on. There was also a networking event where students got an opportunity to meet with the employers (and the CIF) to find out more about careers in construction.

Eoin Healy from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford qualified with a degree in Construction Management & Engineering in WIT in 2015. He spoke about his role as a Project Engineer with Clancy Construction where he worked on the site of Facebook’s €200 million Data Centre in Clonee, Co. Meath. Eoin said ‘there is a huge demand for engineers everywhere and especially in Dublin. A professional career in construction is diverse and interesting, no two days are the same’.

Brian Graham, Programme Leader – Construction Management & Engineering in Waterford Institute of Technology said “The International Construction Management Day is a CIOB event that aims to celebrate construction across the globe.  Here at WIT, we see this as an excellent opportunity to promote the achievements of our Construction Management students and graduates, both in Ireland and across the globe.  Construction is a truly international industry, which can provide exciting career opportunities; from the new Barrow bridge in New Ross to multimillion dollar refurbishment projects in New York.”

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) were also in attendance to present awards to the winners of the CIOB Challenge and the student of the year.

CIF Executive for the Southern Region Ronan O’Brien.

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