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My postgraduate study: Lorcan Hickey-Construction Management & Engineering

What postgraduate study in Construction Management & Engineering can do for your career.
‘Take every opportunity available to develop your skills further’

Job titleConstruction Management and Engineering (BSc)
Employer Waterford Institute of Technology

I chose this career path as I wanted to build on my existing experience and knowledge base, obtained initially through an Advanced Craft Certificate (Carpentry & Joinery). This BSc programme gave me the opportunity to complete a four-year honours degree and to study in Denmark, as well as completing an industrial work placement in the UK.

Industrial placement

In 2015 I did a seven-month industrial placement with Laing O’Rourke at the new Crossrail Liverpool Street Station in Central London. Crossrail is a new 118 km railway connecting 40 stations, Liverpool Street being one of the new stations on the route. I worked at one of the two new ticket halls under construction, on a confined worksite with live train tunnels in operation beneath. During this time, I gained invaluable experience as part of a multi-disciplinary team, delivering part of this massive project in London’s Square Mile while ensuring minimal disruption to the public. It was an excellent opportunity to observe and practise the teachings of the previous three years of my course in areas such as project management, tunnelling and setting out.

My roles and responsibilities

My roles during this time mainly involved managing subcontractor packages. I was responsible for coordinating document approvals, managing site works, and eventually helping to close out final accounts. This gave me continuous exposure to the ongoing activities in the design, planning and commercial teams. I also co-ordinated with the quality team in developing and approving benchmarks to ensure that a consistently high standard was delivered to the client.

Challenges and benefits

A continuous challenge for our team was ensuring that the Tube service at Moorgate Station remained uninterrupted while the old ticket hall was demolished and a new Crossrail and Tube integrated ticket hall was constructed. The fast-paced work environment placed a large significance on the planning and preparation stages, especially during night work.

This was really beneficial, as I gained fantastic experience executing the work while interfacing with other contractors and various client representatives. There was also constant interaction with members of the public who were curious about the project – and regardless of the busy schedule, it was always important for us to make time and address their queries in a professional manner. Every day was very different on this project, presenting new and interesting challenges to overcome, and I enjoyed the added responsibility to deliver on tight deadlines.

My advice

Take every opportunity available to develop your skills further. At times, this may seem daunting, but I have found that the opportunities outside my comfort zone were the ones which delivered the greatest rewards.