This week, RICS Recruit met Rebecca Spokes, a Graduate Surveyor with Stiles Harold Williams. As part of the Surveying the Future campaign, we spoke about her route into the profession, her biggest career challenge to date, and where she sees her future.
What inspired you to enter the surveying industry?
My route into surveying wasn't a direct one. After graduating from university with a humanities background, I went to work for a Local Authority's taxation department. I was later moved into their property department and was lucky enough to meet surveyors working in the private sector, all of whom had a wealth of different experiences and diverse and fruitful careers. It was meeting them that helped open my eyes to what surveying really is and how my skills could compliment it – it's a career that doesn't have any boundaries as long as you're willing to work hard and don't shy away from a challenge.
Why did you choose your surveying specialism?
My surveying specialism is commercial property. My time is currently spread between professional (valuations, lease renewals) and agency (retail, office and industrial acquisitions, sales and lettings) work. I chose this specialism because of the wide variety of people that you get to meet – day to day you might come in contact with anyone from an independent trader to a representative of a multi-million pound corporation. I feel as though I'm working in the heart of Britain's industry, seeing the side of it that so many people don't consider.
What has been your greatest career challenge?
My greatest career challenge so far has been balancing the demands of working full time while studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Surveying and embarking on my APC to become chartered. This requires a lot of self-discipline, good time management skills and probably most importantly, enthusiasm; as these are key skills for a chartered surveyor it's important to build on them now while I'm in the early stages of my career so that I can be the best that I can be in the future.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I want to have achieved chartered status and have built up a client base that have faith in my knowledge of the industry – the beauty of this career choice is that it really can take you anywhere.
What one piece of advice would you give to people starting out in the surveying industry?
The one piece of advice I would give someone is that the surveying industry is rich and diverse and is one that can only benefit from having people from a wide range of backgrounds join it. I thought that because my educational background was non-cognate I would not be considered for a graduate scheme but Stiles Harold Williams and other surveying firms can and do look past that, considering instead vital skills such as communication, dedication, people skills and lateral thinking. There's no 'blueprint' to what makes the best surveyor, it's a people-based industry and the most important thing is that you can recognise what your individual skills and experiences bring to it.
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