My surveying story: Lt Col Ian Webster TD
RICS Recruit meets Lt Col Ian Webster TD, a chartered surveyor and Military Engineer, as part of the Surveying the Future campaign. He tells us about his career in his own words.
“Having had an interest in construction from a very early age I started work at 16 as a carpenter and joiner. On completion of my apprenticeship I set my sights on a professional career as a chartered surveyor. Over several years I studied part time for a number of qualifications and eventually became a fully accredited member of RICS specialising in Building Control and Town Planning.
Linked to my passion for all things construction, I’ve also been a member of the Royal Engineers Army Reserve for the last 30 years, serving mostly with the 170 Engineer Group. The unit consists of both regular and reserve personnel and as a Military Engineer I have been exposed to a range of unique engineering challenges from explosive demolition and bomb disposal to bridge design and assessment of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), deploying as far afield as the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan.
Although many of us wouldn’t necessarily associate surveying with the Army, it is a very important skill set for the planning of military operations, many of which include an urban setting. For that reason 170 Engineer Group welcome chartered surveyors who can provide the expertise to help to keep people safe on a daily basis with the provision of infrastructure including protective structures, power and water.
Since deploying to Afghanistan in 2010 I have worked full time for the Army, now engaged as a staff officer at the Army HQ. My final role with the Royal Engineers involved the analysis of CNI in order to understand the various interdependencies and critical nodes. Essentially, this involves collecting and analysing data to identify the unique features of urban centres to provide the Army with a vital understanding of a complex environment.
My role is very challenging, however anyone with an aptitude for analysis, lateral thinking and a systematic approach, will almost certainly find a rewarding career as a chartered surveyor. With a certain amount of perseverance it’s amazing where your career may eventually end up. I for one never thought I’d deploy to Afghanistan when I originally completed my professional qualifications all those years ago.”
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