After completing a master’s in engineering at Tongji University in Shanghai in 2015 and a second master’s at Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona in 2016, I moved to Ireland to join ROD’s graduate programme.
Over the next two and a half years, I completed rotations within the bridges, geotechnical and contract administration teams at ROD. I worked on several interesting schemes, but the three stand-out projects for me in terms of skills development were: Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) Enhancing Motorway Operation Services (eMOS) programme, the A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe Dualling scheme in Northern Ireland and the Royal Canal Premium Cycleway in Dublin.
A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe Dualling scheme
As a member of the geotechnical team, I was responsible for the geotechnical design of the 11km of earthworks and foundation design and/or supervision of all culverts and bridges within the scheme.
My Spanish language skills proved very useful on this scheme, as one of the main contractors is the Spanish construction company, Sacyr, while ROD’s sub-consultant is the Madrid-based consultancy, Prointec.
As a member of the bridges team, my responsibilities included the structural detail design of all the half-span and full-span gantries along the M50, the retrofitting of the existing gantries and the category 2 check of the cantilever gantries.
Royal Canal Premium Cycleway Phase 2
My responsibilities on this scheme included ensuring that the construction was completed as per the Works Requirement and that it complied with health and safety regulations. My tasks included carrying out inspections, producing daily records and photographs, writing weekly reports for the Employer’s Representative (ER) and progress reports for the client and attending site and progress meetings.
For me, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic underscores just how important it is for graduates to get a good grounding in several different engineering disciplines before specialising in one particular area. I definitely feel that, having completed ROD’s graduate programme, I am better placed to adapt to the current situation.
ROD is a friendly and welcoming company, where colleagues of many different nationalities work together to achieve a common goal. I can only say good things about my experience at ROD, and I am particularly impressed by the support they provide their graduates and junior team members as they progress towards chartership. In short, ROD is a family-oriented company where people are made to feel as important as the business.