31 Aug 2023

Spotlight - Meet our Ireland members: Aoife Lawler

First things first, please introduce yourself

I initially graduated with a degree in civil, environmental and civil engineering from Trinity College and then worked in the National Building Agency as a graduate engineer on the design of social housing schemes and the with a consultant on the design of larger schemes to working with GOAL Global in returning people who were homeless back to their villages.

More recently I have worked in all aspects of social housing in Ireland in two different local authorities and have managed large teams through significant change and during periods of resistance and significant challenges.

What do you love most about your career in housing?

I love that each day (each hour) is very different, and I really don’t know what will face me when I go in each morning. Sometimes, I am looking at developing a greenfield site, and others, sites that are restoring beautiful old cottages at St. Ita’s in Portrane.

New homes in Portrane

What has been your biggest professional achievement?

As project engineer for GOAL Afghanistan in Mazar-I-Sheriff in Northern Afghanistan I was tasked with setting up an engineering department for GOAL within Northern Afghanistan. I was responsible for the hiring and training up to 40 technical and administrative staff, developing specifications and administering a large budget of $3.24m.

One of my roles was to return people who were homeless and internally displaced within Afghanistan. To facilitate this, I oversaw over 40 projects including school rebuilding, well rehabilitation, road repair, house rebuilding, construction material procurement and agricultural rehabilitation.

Aoife working in afghanistan

Aoife working in afghanistan

What are your future goals and aspirations for your career?

To continue learning and developing my knowledge and skillsets. I’m also looking for new challenges too.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in housing?

There are so many different skillsets required within housing that anyone can contribute to dealing with the crises facing Ireland now. I would recommend finding a position in an area that interests and challenges you, and then building on it.