My Surveying Story: Odiri Itoje
On Tuesday 8 March, the world once again came together for International Women’s Day. To coincide with this, RICS Recruit spoke with Odiri Itoje, Assistant Building Surveyor at Cardoe Martin Burr Ltd.
What attracted you to the property industry?
I have loved property since I was young; my father had his own construction business so I was always around materials and often helped out in his office as I was growing up. I would proudly say that property is my passion, from seeing the step by step process of an empty or damaged site transformed into a modern block to the various newly constructed buildings around London. There are so many areas in property and I am happy with my chosen career.
What is a working day like for you?
A working day for me starts at 9am. Depending on my diary events, it could be a quiet week mainly spent in the office or a busy week with the majority of my time spent on various sites. What I love most about my surveying is the flexibility and activeness of the job. No two days are ever the same. I love being out and about as, for me, there’s no better way to learn than to see and do the work.
What has been a career highlight/most interesting project so far?
So far the highlights of my career have been firstly completing my apprenticeship in Property Management where I gained two years of priceless experience and completing my BTEC in the Construction and Built Environment. Secondly, moving into the Surveying sector and specialising in Building Surveying was another highlight. I also secured a place in University studying for a degree in Surveying which I do alongside working fulltime. I then received my Associate RICS membership.
Recently I presented at the ‘Housing and Property Trailblazer Event’ which took place at the House of Commons in front of a number of MP’s, discussing the importance of apprenticeships and how they’ve benefited me in career. That was a great achievement for me.
What lessons have you learnt so far in your career?
Being open minded is a necessity in this industry. I’ve found through my experience and working with different building surveyors, the job can be done in many ways. It is up to you to follow the best example and adapt it to fit yourself. In this industry you meet a wide range of people and different types of clients. In remembering you are representing a company, you must maintain a level of professionalism and patience at all times. Always use initiative and be pro-active, never wait around for other to tell you what to do, ask questions and ask for help, and practice, practice, practice.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself being a fully Chartered Surveyor with a wide knowledge of the industry with hope of working abroad.
Have you come across any barriers as a woman in the industry?
So far in my career I haven’t come across any direct barriers or issues as a female in the Construction industry. I have in some situations noticed that men and women surveyors are not seen as equal and people prefer work to be carried out by an older male.
What would you say to encourage more women to join the surveying industry?
Don’t be scared, it’s not as hard as it seems. See being part of the minority as an opportunity rather than a barrier.
What tips do you have for anyone applying for a role in surveying?
If you are thinking of becoming a surveyor, DO SO. It’s a choice you won’t regret. The industry is huge and diverse and will appreciate and benefit from you joining it. The entry process to becoming a surveyor is not limited; despite which educational background you have there will be a place for you. And remember to enjoy your career journey.