Our FM Contracts Manager Hugh’s Career advice for GCSE Results Day

Ahead of GCSE results day we asked our Facilities Management Contracts Manager Hugh his career advice to those interested in Engineering or similar career paths.

Hugh, tell us a bit about your background, how did you get into Engineering?

I joined the company to complete my apprenticeship while studying at Holy Trinity College. I secured 9 GCSEs to get me into Omagh South West College to do Level 2/3 NVQ in Plumbing and Heating. I completed 3 years at the South West College and qualified with my Level 3 NVQ, I then started my apprenticeship with Michael Nugent Ltd. After serving my time as an apprentice, I then started a site supervisor / management course and learned different ways to secure, control, and operate employees on the site.

I then started to learn more regarding the mechanical side of Engineering including taking different sections of building sites and fitting them out with new pipework and appliances while learning to read plans and drawings.

As I turned 26, I was then given my own contract to supervise and manage regarding orders/ staff and planning works/management of money.

Michael Nugent Ltd then offered me the opportunity to move a step further in my career and become and Contracts Manager. I then started a course through the South West College Omagh / Ulster University called Architectural Engineering and Energy. This was a foundation degree / HNC in Building Services. The course was 2 years 1 day a week and upon completion I became a fully qualified contracts manager controlling my own contracts.

Would you recommend young individuals deciding their educational route to consider an apprenticeship scheme?

If you are an enthusiastic, hands-on individual, I would recommend the apprentice route. You are provided with many opportunities to pro-actively undertake training both in house and outsourced which develops your knowledge widely. Having a mentor along your journey is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from them on a daily basis.

From my personal experience, I enjoyed the apprenticeship route, I have been a valued member of the team from the beginning and have continued to grow with the business 12 years on. If one of the sectors within the company doesn’t suit you, there are always more career opportunities within the organisation.

What skills are crucial in your day-to-day job?

Communication is key especially within the fast-paced engineering industry. On a daily basis I speak with clients, contractors, suppliers, my onsite team for projects and many more individuals.

Great time management skills and quick thinking is needed on FM work as we must be ready every time for a worst-case scenario, I would recommend having ICT skills and problem-solving skills and time management to keep everything running smoothly.