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Cian McNamara – BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management ‘Without my degree, I would never have made it to a management position’

BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management

Cian McNamara – BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management ‘Without my degree, I would never have made it to a management position’


Cian McNamara – BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management ‘Without my degree, I would never have made it to a management position’

Cian McNamara is a Group Facilities and Operations Manager based in London who recently gained his BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management at Portobello Institute.

At just 23 years old, Cian had an interesting study and career path and now with his degree in hand, his career is already taking off.

“I went from being a Facilities Assistant for CBRE on the Uber Ireland contract based in Limerick. After my graduation, I received a job offer to be Group Facilities and Operations Manager for Marlin Hotel and Apartments in Dublin and London,” he said.

Before achieving this new role in London, Cian worked hard with a keen eye for business, dropping out of his first course after his Leaving Cert and having the courage to follow his passion towards the career he really wanted.

“Before I started to study at Portobello, I finished my Leaving Certificate and jumped straight into a college course in Limerick to study Business and Marketing Management, which I soon found out wasn’t for me at all. I dropped out of college when I was 18 and went to work.

“I pursued a tough career in doing groundwork and tarmac first and then moved on to labouring for a demolition company.

“I had set up my own landscaping business as a side hustle at the same time, and did this work in the evening time and weekends to make some extra money.

“It was during this time working for the demolition company that I decided I needed to do something else other than work aimlessly. I looked online for some courses to do part-time and found Facilities Management with Portobello.

“This interested me as I had a strong idea in my head that I wanted to get into the real estate business someday and this would be a great entry point, so I signed up for the course,” he said.

While he remained ambitious, Cian felt like he lacked both a qualification and experience for the career he wanted, so he set about gaining his BSc (Hons) in Workplace and Facilities Management at Portobello Institute.

“I was always told that you would never get a good job in today’s life as every company now looks for qualifications which I didn’t have, or else experience, which I also didn’t have as I was so young still.

“I thought that the fastest way to get into good job opportunities was to get a degree in something and go from there. I never enjoyed studying and was always a hands-on learner.

“I feel that if I didn’t have my qualification, I would still today be breaking my back doing hard manual labour working in tough conditions outdoors.

“I have so much respect for the people that do this as they are the guys I work with on a daily basis, and they help the whole industry revolve. I do enjoy that work but to be in this management position, without my degree, I would never have made it,” he said.

Portobello Institute’s blended learning delivery supported Cian’s working lifestyle and his flexible study style.

“Portobello allowed me to work a full-time job and attend college in the evenings as well as weekends, which really suited me. I needed to work full-time in order to pay for the degree, but also, full-time learning didn’t suit me, which I had found out previously from my studies in Limerick.

“I enjoyed my time as a student. Everyone was so friendly and supportive, as I was the youngest by a few years in my college year. Most people had worked in the industry for quite some time and had come back to better their own understanding of the facilities industry, whereas for me, everything was brand new and more unheard of to me.

“I enjoyed how flexible it was for learning online, submitting assignments and attending classes online.

“There was no need to attend an external tutor for help with topics as all of the Portobello lecturers were a call/text/email away if you were stuck, which I really appreciated.

“They all know you on a personal level, which I find helped so much more when I found things difficult or had trouble understanding things,” he said.

Now with his degree and working in the career he wants, Cian would recommend Portobello Institute, particularly for anyone who may have dropped out of college before, or has never been to college, and who may enjoy more one-to-one support.

“Absolutely, I would recommend Portobello to anyone who thinks about giving college another try, or else if it’s your first time and want to get a decent qualification in a specialised industry.

“The work put into the setup of the course was always supported by Paul Smith, who I really enjoyed and had a great connection with.

“They are very welcoming and understanding. All the help you need is available online, through email or by phone to call someone for help if needed. The set-up for tutorials and lectures online was very easy to understand and didn’t take a computer genius to figure it out,” he said.

Cian was inspired by the business and property owners he saw while he was labouring, and he chose to follow his passion and pursue a career in management.

“I always had a passion for real estate, construction and taking on projects.

“While doing the course online, I worked as a labourer on a building site for a demolition and construction company, mainly working in Industrial type buildings.

“I saw the type of people who owned these buildings and always wondered how they got to such a high level in their careers to be able to own such large portfolios of buildings.

“I believe that doing this course also keeps me in the industry of real estate and property management but also made myself very transferrable between companies as all companies have facilities that need to be taken care of,” he said.

Cian described what his role involves as Group Facilities and Operations Manager for Marlin Hotel and Apartments in Dublin and London.

“My day-to-day tasks include managing the maintenance department, which is a team of 10 maintenance staff as well as electricians, plumbers, and all other tradespeople.

“Overseeing all project work and obtaining pricing for projects from contractors or creating project budgets for in-house projects.

“Updating accounts teams for all finance-related subjects like supplier payments, onboarding suppliers etc.

“HR-related issues can come my way from time to time like when payroll is due before month end to account for staff hours worked etc., dealing with disciplining employees.

“Also, my role consists of taking care of eight properties between Dublin and London managing over 1500 apartments/rooms, making sure they are kept to a good standard, ran efficiently, creating PPM schedules, reporting to company owners and directors on progress updates, keeping customer satisfaction high and always promoting new innovative ideas to push the company forward,” he said.

Cian is enjoying his new role and responsibilities while exploring a new city and looks towards many promising opportunities in the future.

“I never knew what I wanted to be, and always thought about wanting to work for myself, and still hope to someday, but right now I really enjoy my job.

“Being out and about every day in London which is new to me, meeting new people, engaging with different clients, working with different contractors to get the job done, setting deadlines and reaching goals is something I really love doing and get a good thrill from that.

“I believe I am successful in my role because I have learned a lot from some great people over the years.

“I learned from people who have made great names for themselves in all sorts of industries and have given me great advice which I have put into practice and works for me.

“Not everything that people tell you can specifically work for you, but I think once you fail at something once, and learn from your mistakes, that’s the best experience you can get, and for me, that’s the path I’m currently on, and it seems to be going great so far.

“Every day is different. It’s very hard for me to measure how successful I am in my role, as once you fix one problem, another one arises.

“The only way I know that I am fulfilling the potential in my role is by setting some smaller goals, once I have ticked one off, I set a new one, so I know exactly where I have come from and know exactly where I am going.

“If I don’t do this, I’ll get overflown with information, requests, and tasks, and everything begins to pile up if you don’t have it written down or make a note of it.

“I broke into the job and started chipping away at smaller issues until I eventually got to where I needed to be.

“I have learned a lot already, and I have picked up some life skills that I won’t ever forget that will become a standard practice in my daily life,” he said.

Portobello Institute offers a BSc (Hons) in Facilities & Workplace Management, Level 9 PGC Innovation for Sustainability in the Workplace, Postgraduate Certificate in Facilities Management and an MSc in Facilities & Workplace Management and more. 

If you are interested in any of our Facilities Management degrees or qualifications, you can book a consultation call with our expert FM advisor Brandon McLean, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0035. Visit our Facilities Management department here. 

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