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News & opinion

23 JUL 2019

From semi-retirement to top performing student

Despite semi-retiring a couple of years ago, Mike McGoldrick, 58 has achieved a First-Class degree in Building Surveying from Northumbria University along with three final year prizes - including 'Top Performing Student.' This has led to him embarking on a new career as a building surveyor at Eddisons in Newcastle.

Formerly, a finance and accounting professional, having worked for the Department for Education, Ministry of Defence and the Small Business Service, Mike undertook a degree placement year with Eddisons back in July 2017 as part of his Building Surveying degree course at Northumbria University.

He graduated this year, with his high level of knowledge and commitment to learning and upskilling recognised with the prizes for Best Dissertation, Best Design & Economics Construction Project and, the RICS 1947 Club Prize for Top Performing Student.

Mike initially decided to undertake a degree in Building Surveying after semi-retiring to work on small scale property development projects with his brother, an architect and his sister, an interior designer. It had also been a long-held ambition of his to pursue a formal degree course.

Mike commented: "I needed to improve my technical and professional knowledge of working on property developments, and with semi-retirement giving me more time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally get on and pursue a degree.

"The thirst for knowledge that the degree gave me was, I think, what enabled me to achieve such a good degree outcome. I was a bit shocked at having secured three final year prizes, but most importantly to me was to see the joy my graduation brought to my parents who finally got to see me achieve my potential."

Mike McGoldrick

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Being a mature student amongst mostly younger students didn't put Mike off studying for his degree, and he admits they taught him a lot about the rapidly changing world of work they will face after graduation, including their hopes and fears regarding sustainability and advances in technology that the surveying industry is increasingly facing. Young students also benefited from Mike's extensive work experience as he was able to provide some mentoring to others within the course's group-based activities.

Since graduating, Mike has gained permanent employment as a building surveyor with Eddisons in Newcastle, responsible for project managing a range of renovation and condition improvement schemes for schools in the North East.

"My experience of pursuing higher education and a career change at my age has been a wholly positive one. For that, I have both Northumbria University and my employer, Eddisons to thank. Both showed me nothing but support and encouragement throughout and never saw my age as any kind of barrier. Eddisons positively saw it as a strength as my wider life experience proved particularly useful to them when setting up and establishing its new Newcastle office."

Mike is now aiming to develop his practical surveying skills and experience with Eddisons, with the goal of achieving RICS Chartered status – the mark of a surveyor's high ethical standards and technical expertise - before he finally decides to retire for good.

Barry Cullen, Head of Future Talent, Diversity & Inclusion, RICS commented: "Mike is an inspiration; to win one of the top prizes on a Building Surveying degree course is an outstanding achievement – let alone three. Age should never hold anyone back from pursuing higher education or a career change and Mike is testament to just what can be achieved, if you are willing to work hard and put the commitment in.

"It's fantastic to see employers such as Eddisons realising the value of a wider pool of talent of all ages too. I hope more employers follow suit and reap the benefits of a diverse team as our research demonstrates that they perform better."