South West College’s Matilda May Voted Student of the Year

South West College’s Matilda May Voted Student of the Year
November, 2018

South West College civil engineering student Matilda May Beattie has received a top accolade at the recent annual 2018 Plant & Civil Engineer magazine Awards.

She was presented with the prestigious ‘Student of the Year’ award, sponsored by Topcon, during a glittering ceremony, compered by television and radio sports presenter Adrian Logan, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Belfast. 

Organised by the Hillsborough based publishers of Plant & Civil Engineer, 4SM (NI) Ltd, it was attended by hundreds of guests and leading figures from the plant, construction and quarry industries. With 14 separate categories, the event is widely regarded as Ireland’s premier platform of recognition for those operating across all sectors of the industry. 

Commented the awards judges: “All our finalists achieved a distinction in their year of study, they all achieved over 400 hours of placement and provided an excellent record of their work during their Foundation Years. All had impeccable references. However, on top of the normal duties Matilda May Beattie impressed us on a number of other fronts and is a worthy winner of this award.” 

Matilda’s interest in pursuing a career in construction and civil engineering began with her studies for the Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Construction at South West College through the Entitlement Framework from Omagh Academy. She then progressed to the Foundation Degree in Civil Engineering & Environment at the College, where she graduated with Distinction. During her placement with Lowry Building and Civil Engineering, she worked on the £6.5m NIFRS Logistics Support Centre project on Boucher Road, Belfast, meaning a 5:00am start Monday to Friday, making a 180-mile round trip each day. She became one of the team immediately, learning and absorbing experience from Director to Operative level, from setting out the building to supporting the Site Manager with essential paperwork. 

After being on Boucher Road for a few months, Matilda May was then relocated to LBCE’s project at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry which required the construction of two theatres within the existing hospital. The site was surrounded by busy wards and operational clinics throughout the programme and provided a real logistical challenge for Matilda May to overcome. 

Matilda was tasked with inducting operatives and visitors and ensuring all strict infection control procedures were followed including the use of infection control overshoes, control mats placed at each entrance, weekly meetings with the hospital staff coordinating both construction and clinical schedules to ensure no conflict. Monitoring of dust, noise and vibration was vital in this high risk, live operational environment and managed to a ‘T’ by Matilda May and the LBCE team to get the project across the line with no incidents. 


Matilda May has recently begun her Undergraduate Civil Engineering Degree at University of Ulster, Jordanstown where she is completing this part time, whilst maintaining her employment with LBCE.