Construction Industry Federation

Building the Future – Now!

The construction industry is a dynamic, diverse and challenging industry. The industry needs energetic problem solvers to deliver a vast array of projects – could you be part of it?


Annette Hughes - Construction Skills Shortages
Louise Martin - Walls Construction
Larissa Tardelli - Designer Group
Oisin Murphy - Apprentice Carpenter


Mark Maguire, Apprentice Electrician

Mark Maguire is a third year apprentice electrician. Having worked in the autoelectrical trade for five years he then began employment as an apprentice electrician with Designer Group. Mark would consider Construction Studies and Maths to be very important subjects that he uses daily in his work.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

When I completed my leaving certificate(2004), there was a huge push and demand for people working in the computer industry. That influenced my first career decision. I pursued a course in computer science, unfortunately that didn’t work out and I was left wondering which path to take.

I always had an interest in Electricity and Mechanics(car) so when a local workshop advertised a job looking for an apprentice auto electrician, I was the first one in with a CV.

I worked with that company for close to 5 years learning all aspects of the auto electrical trade. Unfortunately the company which we had our main contract with started to loose business and this in turn prompted redundancys.

That job had given me a great insight and helped form my next decision which was to search for a job in the electrical industry. I was lucky enough to get a position with designer group , one of the leading companies in the electrical industry. My knowledge has grown ever since.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

I feel that it was a choice I made on my own from my own interests and ambitions.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Firstly I used the services of Solas who were great , they told me all the steps I needed to take to attain an apprenticeship.

For the next couple of weeks I searched job websites, newspapers, solas offices and applied for electrical apprenticeships.

I got a reply from a few companys who would like to interview me. From there I started to research the companies and put them in order of preference. I completed the interviews and I was happy to have been offered a position from the company I had as my top preference.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day would consist of :

- All apprentices and electricians getting together in the site office to discuss what had to be done that day with the site foreman.

- Gathering up all the materials you were going to need for the day from the stores

- You would then be teamed up with qualified electricians and go and do the job required, they would be helping you as the day went on with showing you how to read technical drawings and how to do the job.

- At the end of the day we would have a quick run through of everything we had done and what had to be done the following day.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

The main task and responsibilites are:

- Getting in to work early and getting the stores and site boxes opened up and ready.

- Getting all the materials and drawings required

- Assisting the qualified electrician throughout the day

- Performing the tasks you have been given to a high standard

- Cleaning

What are the main challenges?

The main challenges are:

-Taking in a lot of information and techniques to perform your job to a high standard.

- Coming towards the end of the job , there are deadlines which may require you to work late hours and weekends.

What's cool?

The job itself is very rewarding to look back after you have put a high standard of workmanship into it and seeing where it came from and where it is at now.

At the start of the job, the building will be stripped bare and it’s a great sense of achievement as the weeks go on and the job is starting to form.

I like all the challenges and technical information you learn throughout your apprenticeship in both on the job phases and off the job phases. Im a 3rd year apprentice now and I like passing on the information that I have learned so far in my apprenticeship to new apprentices only starting and seeing them gaining from this.

I like all the opportunities that come up throughout the apprenticeship. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to travel to africa and work over there with my company. There are also a lot of courses available to further your knowledge and skills.

What's not so cool?

Sometimes the early morning starts and cold weather can be difficult but as time goes on you start to get use to it.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I was lucky enough to serve 6 years as an auto electrician so I feel I brought a lot of knowledge and workmanship from that position .

Another skill I have that helps with the role I am in is I am a good communicator and team player . I am good working under pressure and I'm also confident in everything I do.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I took constructions studies for my Leaving Certificate and I found it fascinating and challenging. Maths plays a big role with my job and it is always good to have a good knowledge of it for the trade.

What is your education to date?

I have completed my Leaving Certificate.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Construction studies was the subject that furled my interest in the trade.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

As a first year I was awarded apprentice of the quarter which showed appreciation for the hard work I was putting in and the progress I was making .

I got the opportunity to travel the Africa to work in a diageo brewery which was a great experience and very rewarding. There is constant recognition of your work and how safely you have done it while you are on the job and that is very rewarding.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I'm confident and able to handle any situation that may arise , I'm persistent and always motivated which is a good personal quality, this helps me get through some of the tough times on site . Most of all I have an interest and a will to learn everyday.

What is your dream job?

I see my career going down a path where I could fill a few positions within the company I work for i.e. engineer , electrician, foreman etc.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?


What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

The advice I would give is firstly talk to someone you may know that is already in the trade and ask them any questions that you may have or ask them about some of there first hand experiences.

Another good piece of advice would be to go onto YouTube and search some basic electrics, keep in mind that these are the kind of things that you will face when you go to the college phases of your apprenticeship . There are books and e-books that can be purchased to get an understanding.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Willing to learn and listen, ability to work under pressure and to deadlines , good team player.

What is your pet hate at work?

Sometimes the technical drawing will clash between trades and you may have to remove the work you have put time and effort into and do it again to suit.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

As part of the job there a lot of job specific courses that can be completed during your trade . I have completed mobile tower assembly, boom and scissor lift driving, confined space training, occupational first aid, abrasive wheel training. I hope to follow up at the end of my trade and do engineering.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Anything construction related would give you a good understanding of the environment you will be working.

What is your current job title?

Apprentice Electrician

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