Dervla McErlain, Façade Designer at Clarke Facades comments on her time with the company on completion of her degree at Ulster University Jordanstown.

Dervla, tell us about your journey to Clarke Facades and what your typical working week consists of.

Nearing completion of my Architectural Technology and Management degree at Ulster University Jordanstown I was keen to kick-start a career in Design, Clarke Facades had announced their Graduate Programme around the time I was graduating, so I grabbed the opportunity and was delighted to be recruited as a Façade Designer.

Working on major construction projects across the UK and Ireland, my working day typically consists of being primarily based in our head office in Ballymena however several times a month I get to go on site and review our live projects. Most of our projects are in London so it’s great to get the opportunity to travel. Being on the graduate scheme was great as I got to learn from my talented colleagues.


What do you enjoy most about working at Clarke Facades?

I really enjoy working on the design element in the construction industry – I’ve worked on a range of large-scale designs and it’s amazing to see the finished project! As mentioned before, I’m mainly based in our head office but I also get to go on site to liaise with our Project Managers and Sub-Contractors ensuring my drawings and designs are being implemented correctly and to look for any defects or answer questions from the guys on site.

We also get treated to free lunch on a Thursday – it’s a great opportunity for the whole company to sit down at one time and have a good laugh with one another, the culture at Clarkes is always improving, we have a great team across the whole company and it’s great to have some fun along the way!


Would you recommend Clarke Facades to undergraduates or recent graduates as a place of work?

Definitely! I was so grateful to get onto the Graduate Scheme at Clarke Facades and would highly recommend it to any undergraduate or recent graduate. It enabled me to kick-start my career as a Designer and the opportunities since then have been great.


What has been your favourite project to work on to date?

I’ve enjoyed working on a range of projects but my favourite would be University of Essex Student Accommodation for Bouygues UK. This was the first project I had sole responsibility for in regard to the design. Seeing University of Essex completed gave me a real sense of accomplishment to know I was heavily involved in the development and completed building. The value of the facade work on University of Essex was circa £2m so the pressure of getting it finished to the high standard known by Clarkes was a huge responsibility but one I thoroughly enjoyed.