– Grace Gill, BSc (Hons) in Construction Management & Engineering, Waterford Institute of Technology
In the third year of a four-year Construction Management & Engineering degree at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Grace Gill is currently completing the work experience module of her degree in ClearyDoyle’s Quantity Surveying Department.
Grace says she has always had a fascination with construction and curiosity about how things are built.
“My uncle worked as an architect. When we would visit him, I loved to study the building model displays he had stored away. I also have an uncle who is an engineer and is based in the Middle East. He worked on one of the FIFA World Cup stadiums in Qatar. Whenever he was home, I could talk to him for hours about the work he was doing.
“My father retired a few years ago and began working on a garden project involving stone masonry work. I was delighted when I got a job for the summer helping him build stone walls and also learning about stonemasonry.”
Grace attended FCJ Secondary School, a mixed school in Bunclody, Co Wexford, where her subjects included Technical Graphics for the Junior Certificate and Construction Studies for the Leaving Certificate.
“There were four other girls in my Tech Graph class and, later, two more in my construction studies class for the Leaving Certificate. I really enjoyed these classes and never felt any distinction being made because I was a female.”
Now studying Construction Management and Engineering at WIT, Grace says there are five other young women on her course, and 10 female students in the 60-person classes shared with the Quantity Surveying degree course. She comments that her WIT lecturers say there has been a surge in women taking up construction courses in recent years, with this year’s female intake being the highest to date.
ClearyDoyle work experience
In the summer of 2023, looking to gain experience, Grace handed in her CV to contractors operating in the south east of the country.
“I was invited to meet Brian Byrne, Joint Managing Director, ClearyDoyle, and he offered me a summer job as a site office assistant on a ClearyDoyle project in Shillelagh.”
Work placement with ClearyDoyle
Grace was delighted when, in January of this year, she was back with ClearyDoyle for the seven-month work experience module of her Construction Management & Engineering degree.
“ClearyDoyle’s senior quantity surveyor, Pól O Maolagáin, is teaching me how to use an automated take-off software (Cubit) used by the QS team as well as teaching me to prepare material abstracts, put together material packages and process subcontractor payments.
“I also attend meetings with staff, subcontractors and clients and learn new things daily. ClearyDoyle employs a significant number of women, and everyone is encouraged to express their opinion on projects or other aspects of work. It is a very stimulating environment to be in.”
Grace prepares a fortnightly report on what she has been doing and learning, highlighting areas where she is struggling and is asked to suggest ways ClearyDoyle could help future work experience students. “I get very helpful feedback on my progress and suggestions on how I can improve my work.”
A career in construction
Grace is excited about the prospect of forging a career in construction and is considering changing her specialisation.
“As a result of my work experience in ClearyDoyle, I am now seriously considering taking my Masters in Quantity Surveying. Even though I am still learning, I find the work very fulfilling. It has been great in helping me build my confidence, and I am very excited about the prospect of seeing something I have worked on emerge from the ground.”