Supporting the Next Generation of Surveyors

Bethan Lewis
My introduction to the construction industry began when I worked as a measured building surveyor for an enjoyable couple of years.

I was always curious about what happened next with the drawings I worked on – but I knew that in order to progress I needed a professional qualification. I was 23 when I went to Sheffield Hallam University to study building surveying and I was keen to take advantage of every opportunity open to me.

My first experience of having a mentor came in 2011 when I was proud to be awarded the Women in Property National Student Award for the Yorkshire & Humber region. As part of the award I was put in touch with a mentor who was very supportive, introducing me to the idea of personal branding, helping me to make my LinkedIn profile effective and encouraging me to network as much as possible.

Although we had great university lecturers, I really welcomed the chance to spend time with someone who was working directly in the industry every day. It was also my first contact with Women in Property and I’ve since come to value the work they do to raise the profile and improve opportunities for women in the construction industry.

I was introduced to Faithful+Gould at my university’s employment fair and I saw an organisation with good support for graduates...

When I graduated in 2012 the graduate career market was very competitive and it wasn’t easy to find a job. I was introduced to Faithful+Gould at my university’s employment fair and I saw an organisation with good support for graduates and plenty of opportunities for a hard worker.

In an industry which is still male-dominated, it was reassuring to know that Faithful+Gould has a good track record of employing and promoting women in technical and senior roles - and I’m delighted that our parent company Atkins has once again been listed as a Times Top 50 Employer for Women in 2013.

Since joining Faithful+Gould, I’ve had the chance to represent our graduate opportunities at university employment fairs and this is very rewarding work. I enjoy being with the team on the recruitment stand, talking with the students, giving them more ideas about the industry and helping them make decisions on which direction to choose. Building surveying is a broad discipline, so there’s plenty of variety. First-hand information from someone who actually does the job is so valuable.

Building surveying is a broad discipline, so there’s plenty of variety.

When Women in Property invited me to become a mentor for a student, I was really pleased to give something back to the organisation and to the industry. WIP’s scheme is open to male and female students, and I am mentoring a young man from the BTEC construction course.

My student is doing well at college and is now exploring degree courses, alongside a work experience placement at Faithful+Gould. With high university fees and a competitive job market, it’s important that he fully explores his options. I’m supporting him in making decisions and giving him a chance to voice uncertainties and to reinforce his areas of strength.

A second opportunity to encourage a student arose when Sheffield Hallam University invited me to take part in their mentoring scheme. I’m looking forward to being allocated my first student in September. We’ll have five sessions during the academic year, where I’ll offer support wherever the student most needs it, but especially focusing on how they’re progressing with job applications.

I’m taking advantage of the outstanding in-house support available.

I feel that my efforts as a mentor reflect the training investment and support I receive in-house. Faithful+Gould is keen to enrich our training and development and graduates are encouraged to attend relevant events and networking opportunities. I’m planning to start a NEBOSH health & safety course later in the year and I will be given the time and resources I need to fully engage with the training.

Graduates are always encouraged to get a wide range of experience in-house and teams are re-organised from time to time to make sure that happens. Secondment to other organisations can also be arranged if needed. And with my APC coming up in 2014, I’m taking advantage of the outstanding in-house support available.

Becoming chartered is not only important to me as an individual, but my progress also matters to my employer, which feels positive and nurturing. I’d encourage anyone to take the opportunity to become a mentor – I’m learning a lot from the experience as well as supporting the next generation of surveyors.