Diane Dumashie, an independent corporate consultant, surveyor and land economist, tells RICS Recruit about her career as part of the Surveying the Future campaign.
“Surveying was something that, quite honestly, I fell into. I knew that I didn’t want to have a ‘traditional’ office job; however, I was sure that I wanted a career which allowed me to work outdoors with land and natural resources, and which had good prospects for progression and job satisfaction. I’m pleased to say that that’s exactly what surveying has proved to be.
“I studied A levels in Economics, Geography and English – all of which have proved incredibly useful in my working life – and, following that, undertook a degree in Estate Management at Birmingham City University. From there, I undertook my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) in the Greater London Council at County Hall (before it was redeveloped!) and completed my APC in one of the big London consultancy firms. This route was invaluable, as it gave me a passion for learning, and analytical and interpersonal skills.
“Once qualified, I moved into the corporate sector: working with big companies such as Allied Lyons and Marks & Spencer on the strategic, property development and management side of their portfolios, which provided a great grounding in how businesses operate.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a huge deal of variety in my working life. Specifically over the last decade or so, with a PhD specialism in coastal policy and business, I have provided consultancy to coastal business (e.g. operators in Ports, Aggregates and Paper mills!). I have also followed my passion by branching out into the African market to advise on protecting access rights for coastal communities.
“The international element of my job mirrors one of the bigger changes that I’ve seen in the industry since I started. Surveyors now have a much bigger role to play in the global economy – and trends such as the sustainability agenda and climate change have only increased the working opportunities. Land and resources are critical to global development and underpin numerous RICS market sectors such as infrastructure, development, construction and land/property markets.
“My advice to anyone looking to start out in the sector is to ensure you’ve got a good mix of ‘soft’ skills – such as report writing, decision making and leadership – to accompany the more traditional technical skills of collecting the right information and data to analyse. It is now more important to be able to make ‘sense of’ and apply that knowledge to problem solving. Our value is to provide effective knowledge services. If you possess that combination of attributes, you’ll fit into the surveying sector extremely well. And, if you’re anything like me, it’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.”