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A Promising Future for Construction Students at Ulster

6 March 2013

High profile employers in the construction industry are vying to take on placement students from the University of Ulster, despite operating in a difficult economic climate.

Local employers – fearful of the so-called ‘brain drain’ – are concerned that negative publicity may be forcing more students to look for work abroad when, in fact, opportunities here still exist.

At least 15 of Northern Ireland’s leading construction companies today (March 6) attended a unique Quantity Surveying Networking and Recruitment Event for Placement Students at the University’s Jordanstown campus.

At a time when news on the construction front is generally dominated by doom and gloom, the University says the popularity of this event proves there are still opportunities out there for our students.

Employers were competing in a major recruitment drive to secure high quality quantity surveying placement students and Professor Greg Lloyd, Head of the School of the Built Environment at Ulster, commended them for their continued support of Ulster students.

He said: “Placement plays an important part in the student teaching and learning experience – it confirms the importance of industrial engagement in the built environment academy and helps students think about their future career ambitions.”

A successful placement year is quite often the golden ticket to a graduate level job offer and employers estimate that over a third of their vacancies will be filled by applicants who have already worked for their organisation.

Research by the University of Ulster highlights that students who undertake a placement year are more likely to leave university with a higher degree classification.

They are also more likely to secure graduate level employment six months after graduation, compared to those who have not undertaken a placement.

Shauna McCloy, Career Development Manager at Ulster, said students from the School of the Built Environment have an excellent reputation with local employers and are acknowledged for making a valuable contribution to their workforce during their placement year.

“Local employers recognise the skills of our placement students and are competing against lucrative international opportunities to keep them at home,” she explained.

“The key message for students, parents and career teachers is that despite a well publicised decline in the construction industry, there are still local opportunities available.”

During today’s event students were given the opportunity of networking with potential employers to help them make informed decisions about placement opportunities.

Mark McKane, Lecturer in Quantity Surveying, said the demand for a place at the event was overwhelming.

“While we are all aware of the impact the current economic conditions are having, it is clear from the demand for this event that we need more students applying for the quantity surveying degree course to meet the skills required from industry,” he explained.

There are approximately 45 students in the second year quantity surveying class who are seeking a year long work placement to complete their Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP)

Firms which attended the event were:

Kilbroney Timber Frames

Whitemountain Quarries

F P McCann

H & J Martin

Graham Construction

O’Hare & McGovern

McLaughlin & Harvey

John Sisk

Habinteg Housing Association

Peter Fitzpatrick Limited

M Clarke & Sons Contracts

SIPFIT Limited

Sammon Surveyors

Powerteam Electrical Services (UK) Limited

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)