Students from Atlantic Technological University (ATU) have won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in this year’s Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)’s Student Challenge competition, with ATU Galway City campus student team winning first place, ATU Donegal second and ATU Sligo third place. The CIOB “Tomorrow’s Leaders” annual challenge attracts teams from universities across Ireland and was held in Thomond Park, Limerick, this year.
Teams of four were given a challenging brief to analyse a proposed commercial development project and provide a report to six experienced industry judges within four hours. Their report dealt with design, delivery, cost and time planning, risk management, value engineering, sustainability, accessibility and modern methods of construction. Each team made a presentation and answered challenging questions from the judges.
The ATU Galway City team who took first place are: Kara Earle, an Architectural Technology student from Athlone; Kenneth Hynes, a Quantity Surveying student from Galway City, Liam McDonagh, a Construction Management student from Corofin, Co Galway and Simon O’Grady, a Construction Management student from Kilbeacanty, Co Galway. The mixture of built environment disciplines in the Galway team was key to their success. They were mentored and supported by their lecturers John Hanahoe and Dr Martin Taggart.
The win was made even sweeter when students and colleagues from ATU Donegal and an all-female team from ATU Sligo were placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
John Hanahoe, Senior Lecturer at ATU, says: “The challenge gives students a great opportunity to work in teams in a pressurised competitive situation. This replicates the real working environment and, although the students find the whole occasion challenging, I know that they also find it very rewarding. We hold similar events across our undergraduate built environment programmes.”
The ATU Donegal team who took second place are all from County Donegal: Maria McShane from Raphoe, Mark Siewer from Rathmullan, Adam Stewart from Kilmacrennan and Donagh McGowan from Ballyshannon, all final year Construction Management students. They were mentored by their lecturers Antoin MacGabhann and Anthony McElwee.The Sligo team, the first all-female team in this competition, who won third place, are: Quantity Surveying students Amy Donohoe from Sligo and Maryann McCann from Roscommon, and Construction Project Management students Meghan Hasselfelt and Stephanie Cardenas, both from Canada. They were mentored by their lecturer Lisa Brennan. The compilation of the all-female team stems from the ‘female network group’ initiative in the ATU Sligo department of Civil and Construction which was established in 2021.
Dr Orla Flynn, ATU President, stated that she was delighted to hear that the three ATU teams put forward to the CIOB student challenge competition took first, second and third place overall. “I was particularly impressed to see ATU Sligo’s all-female team on the podium. Given the significant shortage of graduates entering the construction sector, it is even more important to see a better gender balance emerging so that teams can be more diverse and inclusive and we will eventually see an increase in overall numbers entering this sector.”