30 Jan 2018
Meet Kate Charrington, a residential surveyor with Countrywide, recently elected RICS Matrics Chair in Surrey, and a prolific vlogger on LinkedIn helping to inspire more people to come into surveying from wider and diverse backgrounds. Read Kate’s story.
I wish I could say that I have had a passion for surveying since I was young and knew it was all I ever wanted to do. However, my journey into surveying wasn't that simple. At school, I was a very sociable person with aspirations to be in a good profession, but I didn't know what. Going into university, I still had little idea of what career I thought might be right for me.
I did, however, know that I wanted to experience a year abroad and study within the humanities. So, I completed a BA Hons degree in American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Coming out of university, I wanted a role that involved meeting different people and offered experience in property, so I went into estate agency. Within the negotiator role, I met local surveyors and saw buyers produce surveys to renegotiate.
After a few years, the concept of me as a 'surveyor' began to take form. I began looking into undertaking an RICS accredited degree, but was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when Countrywide offered an AssocRICS Graduate Program. That was where my surveying career started, at the age of 25 - quite late when you think other people have completed surveying degrees at university.
What have been the benefits?
I love my role as a residential surveyor. No day is the same and I get to meet different people everyday. I get to spend a great deal of time in the fresh air, and in the last few years alone have seen the increasing impact on the way technology is influencing residential surveying. I have found that the profession brings with it a great deal of respect; people rely on our knowledge to help them make huge financial decisions and it is a great feeling to help someone through their house buying journey. On a personal level, as a young female surveyor I know that locally I have helped to change the traditional idea of 'what surveyors look like.'
What have been the challenges?
The biggest challenge I have faced is the reality that the public still see surveying as a male oriented profession. No end of times have I undertaken inspections or surveys where people have said "I was expecting a surveyor" or "Oh, I was expecting a man". Otherwise, I must admit that my experience has actually been really positive!
I have had great support from family, friends and colleagues to achieve my qualification and career ambitions. I have met a group of young surveyors through RICS Matrics who are at the same stage in their careers, and I have also found that I can help to change the perception of surveying by continuing to be visible.
A profession for all
Passion doesn't always come naturally. Sometimes you need experience of something to see if it is right for you. I would say that surveying is so broad that there really is something for everyone. For younger people who are interested in technology, so many roles within the profession allow you to utilise new gadgets and see the built environment differently.
If you are keen to see how urban areas are developing, roles in planning, residential or commercial surveying might be a good prospect. If you don't know what you want to do, don't worry but I would definitely say that surveying is a career for the future, so take a look at the options.
As I said, since becoming a surveyor I have come to realise that there is still a common misconception of who, and what, it takes to be a surveyor. I didn't undertake a scientific degree, and maths is not my favourite subject. I wanted to start showing people what it was I do for a living on a day to day basis, and give people an insight into my own surveying journey so that it might help them consider surveying as a possible career.
I began recording videos on LinkedIn and started using my own hashtag #kateonsurveying. The feedback has been great so far, and I am about to venture into the realm of YouTube to reach a wider audience.
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