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Darren Gavin

Site Manager, P J Hegarty and Sons

Degree subject Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (2004)

Job title Site Manager

Employer P J Hegarty and Sons

The most important thing I did when looking for a graduate position was to gain a range of work experience. During my degree I had a year's placement with a civil engineering consultancy and I also completed work experience with a contractor. This enabled me to make an informed career decision, which helped me stand out while interviewing for my current position. 

I'm responsible for the day-to-day running of the construction site. My current project is building a community centre near the Dublin docklands and I'm kept busy. Yesterday, I was on site in the morning, inspecting progress and ensuring that the subcontractor who had just finished had necessary works completed. I then accompanied the architect to view some concrete finishing and discuss the next steps. Next, I went to our head office to catch up on paperwork and attend a meeting about safety. I'm often on the phone to a wide range of people, such as architects, design consultants and clients, so I require good communication skills.

I applied to my company because it offered a scholarship to complete a postgraduate diploma in project management while working, as well as a graduate training programme accredited by Engineers Ireland. I also attend in-house training courses each year, choosing from a range of courses such as communications skills and technical skills. There are many opportunities to specialise in this field: I could see myself in contracts management eventually. However, at present, I love getting out on site and knowing that a building exists partly because of my input.