The continuing studies of a trainee building surveyor during COVID-19

The last few months have been a period of great change for one trainee building surveyor, as the last in our series on apprenticeships explains

Author: Jordanne Wilson

01 July 2020

As I sit to write the last instalment in my series of articles, I am all too aware of how the world has changed. None of us have any way of knowing what things might look like in a few months’ time. Much like everyone else, my day-to-day life has altered so drastically it is nearly unrecognisable and my work is no exception.

The last time I was writing, I was looking ahead to plan my development and set goals for the next 12 months. My diary was already full of events, not least my wedding at the end of February, to be promptly followed by my honeymoon. Little did I know that these events would be the very last that would go ahead as planned.

Since returning, I like many, have been working from home. While it was hard at first to establish a routine and set up my workstation, I have since found it an eye-opening experience and I find myself less distracted during longer tasks. However, I do sorely miss the office. The collaborative energy of my colleagues is a huge motivator and I often learn a lot simply by being in that environment.

“Both my theoretical and practical knowledge has greatly expanded, as have my responsibilities for instructions I am involved with”
Site inspections

I had also missed site inspections, one of my favourite aspects of the role, but with enhanced risk assessments, health and safety measures and personal protective equipment, we have been able to undertake a few more recently. These have included an industrial facility for the preparation of a schedule of condition and another for dilapidations negotiation purposes on a vacant block of flats.

Alongside this, the end of my second year of university rolled on and I successfully submitted both of my final portfolios for professional environmental and materials science, and design & surveying skills. The end of the academic year, as always, signifies the start of my autonomous study and I am looking forward to spending the next few months concentrating on topics I find interesting. I particularly want to focus on areas of building pathology, the management of construction projects and design and specification principles.

Despite all of the above, I have found myself with somewhat more spare time than usual. Especially given the suspension of networking and social events, many of which I help organise as part of my role as a RICS Matrics committee member in Birmingham. I’ve tried to use much of this time to reflect on my journey and development over the last 12 months since I started these articles, and it’s been something of a journey.

Both my theoretical and practical knowledge has greatly expanded, as have my responsibilities for instructions I am involved with. I now actively take ownership of instructions and I am proud of how my skill set has expanded, especially when it comes to service lines, which I previously had little or no experience in. This has only whet my appetite to develop further and continue to improve as a surveyor.

It is just over 12 months until I am set to enrol for my APC. As alluded to earlier, in preparation for this I have begun to view my education and development through the lens of an APC candidate to identify gaps in my knowledge and advance from technician to professional.

On a final note, one thing that has stood out to me in these extraordinary times is the resilience of people generally and particularly those in our industry. The agility and speed at which surveyors and property professionals at large have adapted is inspiring. I know it has been far from easy, but I’ve felt such pride witnessing individuals not only make it work for themselves and their families, but also reaching out to help others too. I do not know what life will look like on the other side of this, but I truly believe we will be stronger for what we have learned and discovered during this time.


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