Shea Moore ~ Career Progression & Achieving Goals

 Long Term – Career Progression & Achieving Goals – Via the Specialist Academy

Meet Shea Moore, AutoCAD designer and former Academy Apprentice.

Shea joined the Specialist family in 2016 through the Specialist Academy Apprenticeship programme.

Upon completion of the course he joined our Design team as it was his long term goal to pursue a career in product design and engineering.

Our Marketing Team caught up with Shea over a coffee and here’s what he had to say about his career progression so far.

Career Development route:

  • Attended St Patricks College, Dungiven.
  • GCSE subject choices – Product design, Engineering, Double Award Science, Maths ICT and French.
  • A Level subject choices – Engineering, Product Design and ICT.
  • Went through the UCAS system and applied for Product design at Ulster University, as well as applying to the Specialist Academy.
  • Undertook a 2 week placement at the Academy over the summer of 2016 and really enjoyed it.
  • Joined the Specialist Academy in 2016 and completed a level 1 stage of Bench Joinery and qualified in the use of shop floor machinery and hand tools.

What made you choose the Apprenticeship Route?

From early in my school days I knew the direction I wanted to go in, that was product design and engineering. At school, I really enjoyed the more hands on subjects like project design and engineering. I heard about the Specialist Academy through my teacher and I thought that it would be a great way to enhance my AutoCAD skills, get experience and earn a wage in the process. Also I felt that by going to University there was no guarantee of a job after graduation, so job security was also a factor in my decision to pursue an Apprenticeship.

Can you remember your first day in the academy?

On my first day the new apprenticeships made charity presentation to Eoin McKee who was climbing Mount Everest for a Mental Health charity. This was unexpected for a few reasons, as I didn’t know how committed that the company are to charitable works and I was also surprised that we, The Apprentices made the presentation on our first day.  After this I met Dave Owens who would be our mentor throughout the course and the rest of the apprentices. I was surprised at the time by how varied the class was with our class ranging from 17 to 24 years old.

The 2016 Academy on their first day

What did a typical week in the Academy look like?

We would spend most of the week working closely with David Owens to enhance our joinery skills and knowledge. This included working on key modules like; timber selection, types of tools and their uses, how to assemble various joinery units as well as assisting with some of the major projects the shop floor were working on. We would also spend 2 days a week in the Academy’s AutoCAD suite. I particularly enjoyed this having done a lot of AutoCAD work at school and quickly found this was one of my core strengths.

What did you enjoy most about the Academy programme?

For me it would definitely have to be the end of year showpiece. In my house, we enjoy card games. I play a lot of poker with friends but never had a proper table so I decided to make one. This was a challenging project due to the fact the table was oblong so this required me to design a CNC template and then hand router the curves at each end which was very time consuming. I used both walnut and maple wood for this project and incorporated high end upholstery and leather to give a very high end finish and I think the end product speaks for itself.

Shea with his final end of year showpiece

 Have the skills you learned in the academy been useful in your new position?

Yes my knowledge of different joinery processes and materials as well as my experience in the AutoCAD suite has proved invaluable when moving into the design team.  Having seen our projects both hands on and now in drawing stage I better understand the workings of the business and it gives me a better perspective to make my contribution to the team.  Working with my mentors Ciaran McConnell and Lurach Moore has helped develop my skills and I continue to learn everyday with their guidance.

How did this opportunity arise for you?

One thing that was heavily promoted throughout our time in the academy was recognising our strengths; from the start off I always wanted to focus on drawing and AutoCAD as I felt this was where my talent was.  I continued to develop my skills and one day I had the opportunity to design a drawing for a glass project for a catering company. The team liked what they saw and we took it from there.  With hard work and persistence there is always room for continuous development throughout the company.

Where do you see yourself headed in the next couple of years?

Over the coming months and years I plan to enhance my technical skills and take on a role as a lead designer on major projects across the ever growing Specialist portfolio.

Finally Shea, what’s the best thing about Specialist?

The atmosphere throughout the company, everyone is friendly and everybody is working together to get the job finished and on to the next one.

Hobbies & Interests

GAA and playing poker.


Or speak to our careers advisory team.