Nathan Wray – BSc (Hons) in Construction Project Management and Applied Technology

Name: Nathan Wray

From: Donegal

School: Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

Current Job: Construction Manager with Ferm Engineering

Growing up, I always had a keen interest in construction, inspired by my dad. He runs his own joinery business, and since I was young, I always loved helping him in the shed working on all sorts of projects. Over the many summers I have spent in the workshop with him, I’ve got to work on sites, in houses, and got to know lots of local tradesmen and firms. In school, my favourite and best subject was construction, and I knew that was the career I wanted to follow.

I researched studying construction in different colleges around the country, and decided I would study in ATU Sligo after attending the open day and seeing the amazing facilities.

I loved the degree itself. The smaller class sizes were great, as I knew my lecturers more personally. Everything we needed to know was explained to us clearly, and our lecturers helped each student.

We spent a lot of time in the workshop.  We drew, designed and constructed our own projects, from roofs and stairs to model houses. As time went on, the projects get more complex, and hence more interesting. Days in the workshop were great, as it was a real hands-on experience, rather than looking at text or pictures.

Throughout the degree, different modules all linked together. For example, as we studied roofs in our theory class, we then started drawing different roof types in our CAD class, before constructing model roofs in the workshop. This allows for easy understanding of the different topics, as we can see them in all areas.

I also really enjoyed drawing or Revit. I loved technical graphics in school, and it is great to follow it up in college relating to construction. We completed technical drawings in first year, followed by studying computer aided design (CAD). In second year, we studied building information modelling (BIM), also known as Revit. As a student who never used this software before, our lecturer Kieran Gallagher was excellent at explaining how to use the software – from basic commands right up to detailed file properties. BIM is a great skill to have in this industry, especially as we progress into the future of construction.

Since finishing my degree in ATU Sligo, I have been promoted to a management role with Ferm Engineering. Currently, I am the Construction Manager of an orthodontist fit-out project, situated in the centre of Sligo Town.

As the main contractor, we have a huge responsibility to effectively co-ordinate the project, from initial strip out works right through to practical completion and final handover. There are various factors which we need to manage throughout the span of the project, such as sub-contractors, designers and engineers, stakeholders and logistics to name a few. Thankfully, the four-year Project Management degree I completed in ATU Sligo has been excellent preparation for me to step into a real management role in industry.

The modules we have covered in ATU Sligo have been very well coordinated and designed to provide students with the most up to date and practical knowledge required to go forward in industry. Project Management is a very broad career, and can further specialise in unique paths. The coursework we have undertaken during my time with ATU has been hugely beneficial to me starting my career as a full-time construction manager, providing me with a great head start to undertake my duties both on-site, and in office.

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