Lego blocks may be child’s play but for one little girl, her early passion for these rudimentary little ‘bricks’ became the building blocks to a career in construction in which she is fast excelling to the top.
Kerry Breen, from Maguiresbridge in County Fermanagh, has just clinched a coveted First in her BSc Hons in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Ulster – and was named Overall Student of the Year by the Chartered Institute of Building.
The 33-year-old, who works for Portview Fit-Out Ltd, achieved the prestigious CIOB accolade in the part-time element of her degree, which she secured in June following four years of dividing her time between her job and her studies, one day a week.
The former Mount Lourdes Grammar School pupil knew from an early age that she wanted to enter the world of construction but first completed another degree, in Interactive Multi-Media Design at the University of Ulster.
She said: “When I completed that I decided to change, since I’d always been interested in construction.
“First, I spent a year travelling in Australia but as soon as I came back, in 2007, I knew it was time to start pursuing my construction career.”
Working for a time in Belfast City Council’s procurement department, Kerry then started a part-time HNC in Construction in the South Western College in Enniskillen before joining the team at Portview, in 2008.
Her experience in procurement, along with the theory informed by her studies, matched her well for her first role in the buying department of the luxury fit-out firm.
Completing her HNC Kerry continued on her path of academic self-improvement and encouraged by Portview, was released for one day a week to enable her to start her degree course.
Now Portview can boast a further member of staff equipped with the highest credentials to continue the firm’s upward trajectory to future success.
After all her studious endeavours she now has time to socialize and even to indulge in her guilty pleasure of Lego.
But like her strict study regime which helped secure her the highest possible mark in a bachelor of science, she’s also very particular about her hobby.
“I’m like the baddy in the Lego movie, who wants to glue all the pieces to keep all the construction sites intact,” referring to the mountain of the toy pieces assembled expertly together at her Belfast home.
As a bit of a perfectionist, she concedes she can’t bear to dissemble the finished pieces once complete, and quips that they’ve now have ‘taken over my house’.
Her drive toward precision bodes well for her clients, predominant among them department store chain Debenhams, whose branches she manages their refurbishment, renovation and new builds, largely in Britain where she spends much of her time in her Portview role.