Matthew Cumber is managing director of Countrywide Surveying Services
I’m writing this at the start of a week when students and parents across the country are anxiously awaiting GSCE and A-level results. Despite this being many years ago personally I can still remember this period of nervous expectation and the rollercoaster of emotions that came with it with my own children
That was a much simpler time in many ways. For students across the UK, this has been another disrupted year which has been complicated by many Covid-related ramifications and uncertainty. For the second year running exams were cancelled, with final grades based on assessments by teachers. In place of exams, teachers have been asked to assess more than 1.2 million pupils “on what they have been taught” using evidence of their choosing.
When it comes to universities, there is growing talk that prospective students may have to sit entrance exams. This comes amidst growing frustration over grade inflation and a report from Buckingham University’s Centre for Education and Employment Research which issued the warning that tutors can no longer clearly distinguish between pupils based on their A-levels.
The journey from these results into further education, or into employment, can follow many different paths for the younger generations. Some will have ideas of what they want to do ‘when they grow up’ but a greater number probably don’t. Many will change careers entirely over their employment lifetime and others will stick to one sector, maybe even one job. The employment landscape is an ever changing one and we are seeing more people than opting to be self-employed and incomes being generated from a multitude of sources.
As a sector that is always on the lookout for new talent we know more than most the importance of training, development and qualifications, in addition to the measures we need to take to attract new blood into the industry. As a company, we have to constantly look outside the box when it comes to our recruitment process and how we can get more residential surveyors certified and out into the industry.
To help facilitate this, in recent weeks, we have created a new position and recruited a highly experienced surveyor development manager to better focus our attention on targeting the right type of personnel. In addition, in partnership with the RICS, we are taking steps to enhance what is already a hugely successful AssocRICS programme by offering additional opportunities to allow a greater number of residential surveyors to successfully graduate.
These AssocRICS assessment qualification windows currently take place on a bi-annual basis and provide the opportunity for trainees to take their relevant examinations within this timeframe. However, on the back of a successful pilot, the new assessment windows will now be open quarterly during 2022. This is positive news for not only those who are looking to qualify and begin their careers at the earliest opportunity, but also in terms of getting more surveyors out in the field to keep the property market moving in the right direction.
Initiatives like these are vital to the future wellbeing of the surveying sector, as without them the industry will be left with a personnel shortage and an inability to service rising demand. The initial lockdown period demonstrated just how integral a role surveyors and valuers play in a vibrant housing market, and the more we can do to ensure that homebuyers enjoy a seamless purchase process, the better it will be for all links in the mortgage chain.