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Páraic Quirke

Roads Engineer, RPS Consulting Engineers

Degree subject Civil Engineering

Job title Roads Engineer

Employer RPS Consulting Engineers

Due to my interest in large construction projects such as roads, bridges and stadiums, and the influence of my father, an engineering teacher, I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering. During my degree I did work experience with my current employer, working for the transportation and structures departments, to get a feel for both. I enjoyed it, and accepted their offer of a job after I qualified.

At present I am working within a team on various road schemes around Ireland which are at different stages of design. I've been able to gain experience on every stage of the design process, including conceptual, preliminary and detailed design, and construction supervision. I carry out design on various elements, and my work is checked and approved by more senior, experienced members of the team.

I have been involved with undertaking geometric design of roads and roundabouts, drainage, road signs, road markings and diversion of utilities. I am also involved in the preparation of contract documents for small and large works. I regularly contact clients and sub-consultants.

A typical working week could involve meeting with clients, site visits and attending training courses (dealing with the basics of road design and using computer programmes specific to Roads Engineering), which can break up the week nicely.

Advice for graduates

Don't let the electives or final year project you choose in college dictate what field of Civil Engineering you should enter upon qualification. Of all the technical information learned in college, you only use about 15-20 per cent of it in practice.