My postgraduate study: Jimmy Byrne-Sustainable Civil Engineering

What postgraduate study in Sustainable Civil Engineering can do for your career.

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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.

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