Why architecture and construction? Recruiters struggle to fill vacant roles

Increased demand for architects and property, quantity and building surveyors

Quantity surveyors and building surveyors are particularly needed. Photograph: iStock

Quantity surveyors and building surveyors are particularly needed. Photograph: iStock

 

Ten years ago, the construction industry was in the throes of a catastrophic collapse. Architects, surveyors and tradespeople were emigrating en masse.

Today, there are plenty of jobs and career opportunities: recruiters say they are struggling to fill vacant roles, and senior-level salaries in the sector have risen by 10 per cent.

Students who enjoy school subjects such as woodwork, metalwork, art, engineering, or design and communication graphics may be interested in a career in construction or architecture.

But there remain few, if any, examples of countries where the construction industry hasn’t risen and fallen, so architects, engineers and construction professionals – and, to a lesser extent, tradespeople – may always have to be ready to emigrate for work.

The good news is that there will always be somewhere they can find it, because they have internationally recognised skills. In recent years, Canada, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand have been popular destinations for Irish emigrants in the construction sector.

Over the past five years, the construction industry’s recovery has led to calls for more property surveyors, quantity surveyors, building surveyors and, of course, architects. Quantity surveyors and building surveyors are particularly needed, and students on these courses will learn a range of skills, including law, planning, finance and economics, that could help them in many industries, not just construction.

Courses

University College Dublin, TU Dublin (formerly DIT), Waterford Institute of Technology, University of Limerick and University College Cork are among the institutions offering architecture courses. TU Dublin has a solid reputation for its courses, including a level seven in civil engineering and a level eight in construction management. NUI Galway offers a level eight BSc in project and construction management, while Dundalk IT’s level eight BSc in building surveying is well regarded, as are courses at Institute of Technology Carlow, Sligo IT and WIT.

Meanwhile, the quality of trade apprenticeships on offer through Solas has also increased and there are opportunities in brick and stonelaying, carpentry and joinery, plumbing, painting and decorating, stonecutting and stonemasonry, as well as wood manufacturing and finishing. Unlike traditional college courses, apprentices earn money while they learn.

Points for these courses have increased slightly in recent years: architecture hopefuls at UCD needed 498 points in 2018, while points for quantity surveying at TU Dublin rose from 370 to 377.

A recent Higher Education Survey found that 82 per cent of engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates were in employment within nine months of leaving college – one of the highest figures for any sector. Engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates had the second highest starting salaries – at €36,817 – within nine months of graduation.