Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Port-based Construction Skills Course Crosses 1,000 Graduates

10th November 2023
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD  (right) with Megan Pepper, a graduate of the Dublin Port-based Construction Skills course, and Barry O’Connell, Chief Executive at Dublin Port, celebrate the course crossing a milestone of 1,000 graduates since its inception in 2017
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD (right) with Megan Pepper, graduate of the Dublin Port-based Construction Skills course, and Barry O’Connell, Chief Executive at Dublin Port, celebrate the course crossing a milestone of 1,000 graduates since its inception in 2017 Credit: Conor Healy

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD was at Dublin Port’s Substation today to mark the Dublin Construction Skills and Retrofitting Programme crossing 1,000 graduates.

The Port-based three-week course, which St Andrew’s Resource Centre runs in partnership with Inner City Renewal Group, is focused on helping the unemployed upskill quickly and find gainful employment in the construction industry.

Today saw ten people graduate, bringing the total number of graduates since the course was launched in 2017 to over 1,000.

Construction Skills Course by Numbers:

  • 1,003 people have graduated.
  • 60% of graduates start a job within the first month.
  • Female interest in the course is growing - 10% of graduates in 2023 were women.
  • 90% of candidates complete the three-week course.
  • 102 courses have been completed since 2017.

The intense course, for which all candidates are issued with a full set of workwear, prepares recent graduates with a diverse set of qualifications and experience for employment on construction sites. It consists of two main components: a Construction Skills Certification at Level 3 and a Retrofitting Assistant Certification.

Both components involve a placement process, and they work closely with each individual candidate to facilitate their entry into the construction industry. The primary objective of the programme is to have 60% of participants gain employment in the construction sector, with the majority of them securing jobs within four weeks of completing the course. Notable companies that have hired graduates include John Sisk & Son, Careys Building & Civil Engineering, Walls Construction, Alufix, and Clarke Concrete.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD said: “The Dublin Construction Skills and Retrofitting programme is a shining example of how innovative training initiatives can have a profound impact on individuals’ lives and the local community. With over 1,000 graduates, this course is not just about numbers, it's about creating opportunities, empowering people and driving economic growth. It’s heartening to see the construction industry embracing and benefitting from this skilled workforce. Congratulations to all involved in this remarkable achievement.”

Barry O’Connell, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin Port Company are extremely proud to play host to the Construction Skills Course. The Port has long-standing ties with St Andrew’s and we are delighted to facilitate the great work they are doing for the local community and beyond. To pass 1,000 graduates is a phenomenal achievement and a lot of credit must go to all involved.”

The curriculum is tailored to individual needs and capabilities. The range of modules includes:

  • Induction
  • SOLAS Safe Pass
  • Manual Handling
  • Abrasive Wheels
  • MEWP (Scissors and Boom)
  • Working at Heights
  • QQI Level 3 Construction Skills
  • Introduction to Block Laying – 3 days (onsite)
  • Introduction to Plumbing and Plastering – 3 days (onsite)
  • Introduction to Carpentry and Decoration – 3 days (onsite)

The inception of the programme can be traced back to a collaborative effort involving the Department of Social Protection, St. Andrews Resource Centre and Dublin City Council. This initiative arose in response to the need for a local workforce to support the construction of the incinerator site in Ringsend in 2016 and the Strategic Development Zones in Dublin Docklands. St. Andrews Resource Centre devised a strategy to facilitate the recruitment of local workers in the east side of the inner city.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD alongside Megan Pepper, graduate of the Dublin Port-based Construction Skills course, and Edel Currie (left), Community Engagement Manager at Dublin Port CompanyMinister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD alongside Megan Pepper, graduate of the Dublin Port-based Construction Skills course, and Edel Currie (left), Community Engagement Manager at Dublin Port Company Photo: Conor Healy

Edel Currie, Community Engagement Manager, Dublin Port Company, said: “The course is truly a life-changing experience for some of the graduates. There are amazing stories of people, men and women, from the local community who have flourished in the construction industry off the back of this course. We have even seen some graduates working within the Port, so it gives us immense pride to see the difference it can make to people’s lives.”

Jim Hargis, Manager of the Education and Training Hub at St Andrew's Resource Centre, said: “We are immensely proud to reach 1,000 graduates at Dublin Port’s magnificent Substation today. The success of the project, and something that gives me great satisfaction, is that it is always evolving to ensure it meets employers’ needs. I would like to give a huge thanks to Dublin Port for giving us the platform to stage the course and supporting us.” Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port is Ireland’s largest and busiest port with approximately 17,000 vessel movements per year. As well as being the country’s largest port, Dublin Port has the highest rate of growth and, in the seven years to 2019, total cargo volumes grew by 36.1%.

The vision of Dublin Port Company is to have the required capacity to service the needs of its customers and the wider economy safely, efficiently and sustainably. Dublin Port will integrate with the City by enhancing the natural and built environments. The Port is being developed in line with Masterplan 2040.

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020.