G. Flynn

Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
In Ireland in 2011 graduates of many disciplines are encountering very difficult conditions in trying to gain employment. This is particularly so in the field of construction. Comparing the different employment sectors in Ireland, the construction sector has suffered considerably more than others and this is reflected in the diminishing Irish employment opportunities for construction graduates.

Due to the ongoing recession and the oversupply of residential and commercial units the current bleak employment outlook for graduates may continue for a considerable period of time. There are a number of third level colleges offering construction related degrees in Ireland, increasing the competition for jobs and there is also competition from students graduating from institutes outside Ireland, typically in the United Kingdom.

Interviews with professionals in the construction industry in Ireland appear to suggest that whilst recent graduates have the various technical, academic and analytical skills and knowledge needed, very often there is a problem with their practical experience. As a professional involved in the delivery of modules to construction students I have recognised the importance of the area of practical experience. What this paper hopes to achieve is to see how we can develop a module that will give our students an introduction to the understanding of the building industry, the role of professionals within that industry and an awareness and appreciation of the materials used on site.

It is proposed to conduct extensive primary research among:
- Construction industry professionals.
- Academic staff delivering construction modules.
- Undergraduate construction management students (full and part time).
- Recently graduated construction management students either in or seeking employment.
Students from different undergraduate years will be surveyed to establish their opinions on elements of the proposal. This will take the form of a survey conducted electronically. Such feedback will be analysed in detail. It is also proposed to monitor the different observations of full time students versus part time students. In general part time students tend to be older, more mature and are actually working in the construction industry. Such students would be expected to have different viewpoints and different issues. Construction industry professionals will advise on what they are looking for from entrants into the industry and where there are perceived problems in this area. My fellow academics will give their observations on the proposal. This is particularly important as our school has a very broad range of experienced professionals across the whole spectrum of the construction industry.

Secondary research will also be undertaken.
The aim is to establish the best practices that should be applied to our undergraduate programmes so as to develop world class graduates who can make positive contributions to today’s construction industry. It will also gather feedback from relevant stakeholders in this area and examining the different issues prioritised by them. All results will be published in this proposed paper.