Ciara Ahern, the Head of Building Engineering in DIT says: “The buildings in which we spend 90% of our time are responsible for about half of global energy use. Society urgently needs building engineers to help realise our ambitious climate change targets for our built environment.”
DIT and Sirus have joined forces to introduce the inaugural Sirus Scholarship in Building Engineering 2017. The scholarship was established with James Byrne, a DIT graduate and his colleague Frank Caul, who joined forces in 1989 to form the very successful Sirus Group. It employs approximately 100 people, many of them building engineering student graduates from DIT, and operates across Ireland and mainland Europe.
The Sirus team specialises in the control and management of building systems across a diverse range of sectors including industry, education, retail, hospitality, healthcare, life sciences, data centres and airports. “Sirus is always looking for good people”, says Frank Caul, “and we prefer to employ the graduates from Building Engineering in DIT as they are able to hit the ground running and contribute to the company quickly. These graduates invariably climb the career ladder very quickly.”
The two talented students awarded this year’s Sirus Scholarship are Zoe Elliott, from Newtownmountkenndy, Co Wicklow and Pauric O’Connell, from Virginia in Cavan. Both are third-year students of Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Building Engineering (Course code: DT026) at DIT. DIT has an open access policy to education and allows students access the system at apprenticeship level, and without honours maths. “If you want in, there is a way in”, says Ciara Ahern. “Some of our best students are those who access the system at apprenticeship level and ordinary degree level”.
“Stick-with-it” attitude James Byrne is an excellent example of this, starting off his career as an apprentice plumber in DIT. “This is why we set up the scholarship based on the attributes of grit and perseverance, rather than academic merit”, says James. “At the end of the day it is a ‘stick-with-it’ attitude that gets you through tough times in education, business and in life in general.”
To support the initiative Sirus also donated a state-of-the-art recirculating air conditioning teaching system to the college which DIT is excited to put into use.