BSc (Hons) in Fire Safety Engineering
It takes courage and perseverance to stay on a board with a 12-foot wave behind you, but the reward you get is phenomenal. It’s a good analogy for going to college as a mature student.
When Liam Curran left school at 14 he never dreamed he would have an Honours and Masters degrees by the time he was 30. Now running his own business LJC Fire and Access, a Fire Safety Engineering and Disabled Access Consultancy in Donegal, he’s exactly where he wants to be.
Working in construction, Liam spent years in London and the US. “I was jack of all trades, literally.” Originally from Letterkenny, surfing is a passion so when the recession hit, he decided it was time to enhance his qualifications and return to the waves of Donegal.
An Access course at LYIT first helped Liam acclimatise to third level education, he then went on to study the Bachelor of Science in Fire Technology followed by the BSc (Hons) in Fire Safety Engineering (now the Fire Safety Engineering BEng 4 year Degree route). This suited Liam because of his background in construction, initially he says,“ It was daunting and exhilarating at the same time! You think that everyone else knows more than you.” He soon discovered that wasn’t the case. In fact, he says working in study groups was a major catalyst in helping him adjust to college. “We helped each other and I made great friends.”
Fire Engineers help to ensure safety throughout the built environment. “It’s a hugely important and rewarding occupation,” explains Liam, “ Much of my work involves working with different teams, including the fire authorities to develop solutions to fire engineering challenges. I’m responsible for monitoring tests of fire safety systems, attending design team meetings and researching latest advances in fire safety building installations.”
Liam says the course at LYIT prepares graduates well for the real world. “The fire engineering industry is a developing science that’s growing fast, there’s lots of opportunities. The research modules ensure you have the latest knowledge.” He got a
job with a major company in London right away as a lead Fire Engineer on the Al Wakrah Complex, the stadium development for the 2022 World Cup.
“I look back on my time at LYIT with fond memories.” The community atmosphere Liam believes is unique, “It’s a vibrant and exciting environment to study.” LYIT played a major part in refocusing Liam’s career, helping him accomplish recognised qualifications and develop many other skills, “I wouldn’t have succeeded in getting a place on the Masters, if it wasn’t for LYIT.” Liam successfully completed a Masters in Fire Safety Engineering at Ulster University.
Whilst returning to education is not without its challenges Liam reckons, “Don’t be put off by the initial phase. Get involved in college life. If you encounter any problems talk to lecturers and take advantage of the support available at LYIT. Everyone wants
you succeed.” When he failed an exam in the second semester, Liam found the support he received was invaluable. “Determination is important, there are always ups and downs, part of the experience is learning how to cope.”
Now based at CoLab the business incubation centre on LYIT’s campus, Liam feels he’s come full circle, “The connection with LYIT doesn’t end on graduation day,” he laughs, “CoLab is a fantastic facility for start-up businesses, I’m still learning at LYIT.”