Minister for Training & Skills, Ciaran Cannon, TD, recently officiated at the inaugural presentation of BIM diplomas and certificates to 65 mature students at DIT Bolton St. The evening was a major success with approximately 150 people attending to witness the awards ceremony, and to hear presentations from a diverse range of academic and industry experts.
Dr Kevin Kelly, Head of the new School of Multidisciplinary Technologies at DIT, opened the proceedings and put the occasion into context. He outlined how the demands of the construction sector have dramatically changed and explained that DIT has responded accordingly, devising a whole programme of courses to satisfy this new environment.
“BIM is especially important in this respect”, said Kevin, “because BIM is not just about software but is a paradigm shift that brings collaborative design forward in a way that combines the best design ideas with organised implementation and excellent communications. This allows for off-site construction and speedy delivery of low-energy projects in a cost-effective way.
“The creation of the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies breaks down silos between disciplines and builds collaborations, BIM being an excellent example”, continued Kevin. “BIM is not about the future … it is about now. Building professionals and contractors not adopting BIM are like airlines not using online booking … they will soon go out of business”.
Professor Gerald Farrell, Dean of the College of Engineering and Built Environment, echoed and reinforced Kevin’s sentiments. He explained how, in response to the need for change, DIT amalgamated two areas, the Built Environment and Engineering. “One of the key drivers of this restructuring was to allow us to deliver more multidisciplinary education” he said, “reflecting a world where everything around us that we plan, build and use is developed by teams of people drawn from many disciplines.”
Following restructuring, the College now consists of seven schools. Each school covers a range of disciplines and one school in particular, the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies, demonstrates DIT’s commitment to provide all graduates with the multidisciplinary skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a diverse range of careers. The School of Architecture also reflects a strong multidisciplinary nature, through its combination of architecture and construction-related programmes.
Many of the graduates on the BIM course were funded through the Government’s Springboard initiative. This allowed DIT develop new technologies and techniques in building information management education to deliver useful CPD programmes, among them the BIM courses.
The BIM graduates have gained a fresh and very relevant set of skills and knowledge that will enhance their careers and employability. Of equal importance for Ireland is that they will, in turn, transfer their skills and knowledge into Irish industry, in particular construction. They will also redress the emerging skills deficits in the sector.
DIT will continue to collaborate in developing programmes and modules in areas with the potential not only to underpin successful careers, but also to help Ireland develop a sustainable construction sector capable of meeting the many challenges it faces. In this context teams in the College and the wider DIT have applied for further Springboard funding with a view to running these programmes, and others, again from next September.
In closing Professor Farrell thanked Minister Cannon for his support and for attending the proceedings. He also acknowledged the support of Government in providing the resources nationally for the Springboard initiative over the last few years, explaining that it was a critical component of the Government’s strategy to achieve full employment in Ireland by 2020.
Finally, he thanked DIT President Brian Norton and all his colleagues in DIT for their contribution to the success of these Springboard programmes, and in particular the staff of the College of Engineering and Built Environment. “I am only too aware that the development of new initiatives at a time of constrained resources and decreasing budgets is a very significant challenge”, he said. “However, I firmly believe that the graduates here this evening are tangible evidence of the ability, and willingness, of DIT to overcome constraints to the benefit of our stakeholders.”