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My postgraduate study: Jimmy Byrne-Sustainable Civil Engineering

What postgraduate study in Sustainable Civil Engineering can do for your career.
I chose to pursue a career in civil engineering because I was always fascinated with buildings and infrastructure and how they were constructed.

Job titleSustainable Civil Engineering (BEng)
Employer Waterford Institute of Technology

What did you study in college?

Currently in my final year studies of an add-on course, BEng (Hons) in Sustainable Civil Engineering in Waterford IT. I have also previously completed a BEng in Civil Engineering at Waterford IT which I completed in May 2014.

Why did you choose a career in Civil Engineering?

A career in the built environment has always appealed to me, but one of the main reasons which I have such a great interest in construction and the built environment is the fact that from a very young age I was infatuated with building Lego models and Lego cities. I chose to pursue a career in civil engineering because I was always fascinated with buildings and infrastructure and how they were constructed, my career choice has probably stemmed from my curiosity and interest in all types of structures in the built environment. I suppose you could say I didn’t choose my career in some ways, it chose me.

What did your work placement involve and the best things about it?

As part of my studies at Waterford Institute of Technology we were required to undertake a six month industrial placement. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with one of the leading building contractors in Ireland and the uK, John Sisk & Sons. I was based on the construction of a large residential development in Wembley, London, overlooking the iconic Wembley stadium. I was fortunate to be placed with such an experienced team of engineers and managers on site, who I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience from. Some of the roles and responsibilities which I had on my industrial placement were setting out prefabricated bathroom pods, dimension control and keeping detailed records and as-built surveys in conjunction with ensuring a high standard of quality.

It was great to work on a construction site which was using innovative ideas such as prefabricated bathroom pods and other innovative construction processes. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of working in a fast paced environment and meeting deadlines as it gave me the opportunity to prove myself. I found it very beneficial to be able to apply the theory to practice on a live construction site, and to have the ability to draw on the knowledge I have ascertained throughout my third level education. I feel that the experience and knowledge that I have gained from my industrial placement and the education which I have received in Waterford IT over the past five years has put me in an excellent position to start from and has given me a great deal of self-confidence to pursue a successful career in the construction industry.

How do you hope to see your career developing and what advice would you have for students?

I hope that my career will develop to enable me to work on some on the most challenging and largest construction and infrastructure projects around the world and to be able to say I contributed to the construction of those projects. Advice which I would have for students who are thinking of pursuing a career in civil engineering is to ask questions, as there is a wealth of knowledge out there, talk to those who are working in engineering, go to your classes you will only get out as much as you put in, and don’t be nervous or hesitate, jump in, everyone has to start from somewhere.