This post is part of the VET Gazette 4
Ciara McGuigan-O'Brien
Monaghan Institute


In the academic year 2020/21 I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Level 6 Advanced Building Design with 3D CAD Traineeship at Monaghan Institute in partnership with Entekra Ireland. This was a big step for me as I was returning to education after being in full-time work for over five years and was nervous about being the oldest student.  Starting the course, I realised I wasn’t the only one in this position, as there were a few my peers also looking for a career change and this course was definitely the best way to see if that is what you wanted. After such a successful nine months within Monaghan Institute and placement in Entekra, I received distinctions in all modules and moved on to further my education at Ulster University Jordanstown, completing a BSc Honours Degree in Architectural Technology and Management.

Completing the traineeship at Monaghan Institute really helped me with the transition to university as it gave me an idea of what was going to be required throughout the duration of the degree. It was also a great way to further my education and knowledge within the industry closer to home and to make sure it was something that I really wanted to progress with. 

The combined in-class studies and on-site training really allowed me to experience the industry rather than just learn about it.

The lecturers and trainers, particularly Michael and Ciara, really pushed the whole class to reach their full potential and nothing was an issue for them. This made the whole experience worthwhile. 

The course modules have helped me with my transition into university especially the 2D and 3D CAD module as this software is used over a wide range of modules within my course.

I would highly recommend this course to anyone that is unsure of what they want to do when leaving school and is interested in the architectural/building industry or if someone is in similar position to myself and looking to explore a passion and change careers. Monaghan Institute is the most supportive college I have been in and Entekra is an amazing company to work with and I definitely would not be where I am today without the experience, I had with them both.