Conservation: informing our future

Richard Stocking
How our leading Conservation and Heritage expert, Richard Stocking, has been inspiring the next generation...

Taking the lead from our successful ‘Bring your Child to work day’, a number of our employees have wanted to get more involved to help develop our next generation of business leaders.

As Head of Conservation and Heritage at Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC Lavalin Group, and father to a young daughter I decided to rise to the challenge and speak to groups of children at my local school .

I took my young audience on an historic adventure, entwining stories of days gone by around buildings from our past, conveying to them the importance of preserving these buildings so they can continue to explore and enjoy their history. I explained how rewarding the team and I find the work we do, citing some of our nation’s most important heritage assets as example projects.

Despite my initial apprehension about speaking to such an unfamiliar and potentially unforgiving audience – one that would differ so radically to the clients and professionals I am more acquainted – my momentary nervousness was quickly overtaken by the realisation I had been given a prodigious opportunity to inspire potential conservation practitioners and surveyors of the future.

The children were from Years 7 and 8 at a momentous time in their education, when for many, they are giving serious consideration for the first time to the choice of career they may wish to pursue, ahead of selecting their subjects at G.C.S.E.

They were a tremendously attentive audience who genuinely seemed to be absorbed in the photos and stories of the buildings and projects that the Faithful+Gould Conservation & Heritage team had been involved. I was amazed that even when I touched upon subjects such as ‘concrete conservation’ they remained focussed and noticeably engaged, this being revealed by the variety and depth of questioning that followed.

“I just wanted to put in writing our gratitude to Richard Stocking for the careers talk he gave to our Year 7 and 8 children. He was absolutely brilliant and we were delighted that he was able to fit this into a busy schedule. I think it is so important that the children have access to a wide range of careers information and Richard was clearly very passionate about what he does and the company he works for.

Thank you for sparing one of your experts!”

Peter Withers, Deputy Head

This talk however gave reflection, on the one hand the amount of responsibility we should take as professionals to encourage learning, broadening of horizons and of listening to what our children are saying. And on the other the apparent lack of awareness by the children of surveying as a possible career or of representative bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

This made me reflect upon my own time at school and the path I took to becoming a Chartered Building Surveyor specialising exclusively in conservation and heritage work. When I was their age, I too did not have an awareness about surveying and the many different types of tremendously rewarding careers available as a Chartered Surveyor.

I am so very fortunate and privileged to work with some of our nation’s most important heritage assets. If during my presentation I managed to raise awareness of surveying and conservation amongst the children, provide them the inspiration to pursue a career in conservation and demonstrate that it is a tremendously worthwhile and rewarding profession, then I regard that as a resounding success and one that I would be very pleased to repeat.

There is an acknowledged shortage of professionals in our industry. We need to make sure that more of our young people have a greater awareness about surveying and conservation earlier within their education, as they represent the future of our industry.


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