Because the industry is so varied and diverse, there is a vast array of career opportunities across the construction sector from operative level to apprentice to professional roles.
Entry into the construction sector is possible at all levels. General operatives join the industry with no experience but through working on different projects they gain skills informally. Traineeships, apprenticeships and degree programmes all offer entry pathways.
The construction industry is thriving once again and levels of recruitment are increasing as activity grows the overall Irish economy improves.
Construction graduates and apprentices are in big demand so it is the perfect time to be considering a career in the industry in Ireland.
CIF is recognised as the representative body and voice of the construction industry and represents the views and interests of contractors in the sector. CIF provide an online platform for young people considering the opportunities available in the construction sector through the apprenticeships route.
Mark Maguire is a third year apprentice electrician. Having worked in the autoelectrical trade for five years he then began employment as an apprentice electrician with Designer Group. Mark would consider Construction Studies and Maths to be very important subjects that he uses daily in his work.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
When I completed my leaving certificate(2004), there was a huge push and demand for people working in the computer industry. That influenced my first career decision. I pursued a course in computer science, unfortunately that didn’t work out and I was left wondering which path to take.
I always had an interest in Electricity and Mechanics(car) so when a local workshop advertised a job looking for an apprentice auto electrician, I was the first one in with a CV.
I worked with that company for close to 5 years learning all aspects of the auto electrical trade. Unfortunately the company which we had our main contract with started to loose business and this in turn prompted redundancys.
That job had given me a great insight and helped form my next decision which was to search for a job in the electrical industry. I was lucky enough to get a position with designer group , one of the leading companies in the electrical industry. My knowledge has grown ever since.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
Firstly I used the services of Solas who were great , they told me all the steps I needed to take to attain an apprenticeship.
For the next couple of weeks I searched job websites, newspapers, solas offices and applied for electrical apprenticeships.
I got a reply from a few companys who would like to interview me. From there I started to research the companies and put them in order of preference. I completed the interviews and I was happy to have been offered a position from the company I had as my top preference.
Describe a typical day?
A typical day would consist of :
- All apprentices and electricians getting together in the site office to discuss what had to be done that day with the site foreman.
- Gathering up all the materials you were going to need for the day from the stores
- You would then be teamed up with qualified electricians and go and do the job required, they would be helping you as the day went on with showing you how to read technical drawings and how to do the job.
- At the end of the day we would have a quick run through of everything we had done and what had to be done the following day.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
The main task and responsibilites are:
- Getting in to work early and getting the stores and site boxes opened up and ready.
- Getting all the materials and drawings required
- Assisting the qualified electrician throughout the day
- Performing the tasks you have been given to a high standard
What are the main challenges?
The job itself is very rewarding to look back after you have put a high standard of workmanship into it and seeing where it came from and where it is at now.
At the start of the job, the building will be stripped bare and it’s a great sense of achievement as the weeks go on and the job is starting to form.
I like all the challenges and technical information you learn throughout your apprenticeship in both on the job phases and off the job phases. Im a 3rd year apprentice now and I like passing on the information that I have learned so far in my apprenticeship to new apprentices only starting and seeing them gaining from this.
I like all the opportunities that come up throughout the apprenticeship. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to travel to africa and work over there with my company. There are also a lot of courses available to further your knowledge and skills.
What's not so cool?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I was lucky enough to serve 6 years as an auto electrician so I feel I brought a lot of knowledge and workmanship from that position .
Another skill I have that helps with the role I am in is I am a good communicator and team player . I am good working under pressure and I'm also confident in everything I do.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
As a first year I was awarded apprentice of the quarter which showed appreciation for the hard work I was putting in and the progress I was making .
I got the opportunity to travel the Africa to work in a diageo brewery which was a great experience and very rewarding. There is constant recognition of your work and how safely you have done it while you are on the job and that is very rewarding.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
The advice I would give is firstly talk to someone you may know that is already in the trade and ask them any questions that you may have or ask them about some of there first hand experiences.
Another good piece of advice would be to go onto YouTube and search some basic electrics, keep in mind that these are the kind of things that you will face when you go to the college phases of your apprenticeship . There are books and e-books that can be purchased to get an understanding.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
What is your pet hate at work?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
As part of the job there a lot of job specific courses that can be completed during your trade . I have completed mobile tower assembly, boom and scissor lift driving, confined space training, occupational first aid, abrasive wheel training. I hope to follow up at the end of my trade and do engineering.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?