Scott Jack joined our Graduate Programme in January 2014 and his surveying career has gone from strength to strength. He achieved his AssocRICS in just 6 months and was shortlisted for the RICS Young Surveyor of the Year 2016. His most recent accomplishment is being promoted to Area Operations Manager for our Walker Fraser Steele division in Scotland.
You may be wondering how Scott has achieved this success in only five years?
Well, I caught up with Scott to find out his secret. And, his answer to my conventional first question took me completely by surprise! …
Let’s go back to the beginning. Did you study a RICS-accredited degree to university?
“Yes, I went to university to study engineering but, in my second year, I contracted a rare form of meningitis which put me in intensive care for three weeks. The infection had a huge effect on my joints which meant I had to learn to walk again, so I missed my second-year exams. As you can imagine, managing my recovery along with my university studies was challenging so I left university to take a different route. Looking back, I think this experience gave me more drive and determination to succeed.”
Wow, that’s quite a back story! What did you do?
“I started out working in a couple of call centres which gave me confidence and a really good grounding in customer services and sales. This has been hugely beneficial for me throughout my career and I still draw on the skills I learnt today.”
So, how did you go from working in a call centre to the property industry?
“I got into property through a Trainee Valuer role at Your Move Estate Agency in 2002. Working in their sales team, I visited residential properties to provide valuations to customers.
“I left Your Move in 2007 to become a Property Manager at Morgan’s Solicitors in Fife where I stayed for 3 years.
“Determined to finally get a higher education qualification, in my spare time I started studying for a Diploma of Higher Education in Estate Management. I also joined a surveying firm in East Lothian around the same time. My new job saw me not only providing valuations, but also inspecting properties for defects and offering recommendations for improvements.”
Is this what drew you down the surveying path?
“Yes, I’d developed a good understanding of building pathology and, as I came to the end of my Diploma, I decided I wanted to move away from commission-based sales roles. I’d had a lot of dealings with residential surveyors throughout my career and decided that this was the route I wanted to take. I was then lucky enough to get a Graduate position at e.surv.”
You’d had a lot of experience in the property industry before joining e.surv’s graduate programme then?
“Yes, this experience meant that I achieved my AssocRICS only six months after joining e.surv which is fairly quick. I already had a breadth of experience in valuation and defects which meant I could really hit the ground running. Many Graduate Surveyors join the programme straight out of university. I also received invaluable support from my Mentors (Brian King and Michael Scott) who helped me in my transition from estate agent to surveyor.”
It wasn’t long after this that you were nominated for the RICS Young Surveyor of the Year. How did this come about?
“I was put forward for Young Surveyor of the Year by my colleague Alasdair Hayworth in 2016 and it was an honour to be nominated. Since joining the company, I’d provided a lot of support to my colleagues during the role out of the new iPad technology. This seems a long time ago now. It’s hard to remember a time before iPads!”
Do you have ambitions to do your APC to become MRICS?
“Yes, I’d like to do my APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) at some point in the future. e.surv has a great network of Mentors and I’m sure our Learning and Development Team will make sure I get the support I need when the time comes. I’ll be focusing on my new role as Area Operations Manager for the time being though!”
You are a great advocate for the surveying profession as you clearly love your job. In your opinion, what qualities do you need to be a good residential surveyor?
“Obviously, a love of houses is vital and you have to enjoy variety. As a property surveyor, no two days are the same. Every house is different. I’ve met a lot of interesting people, along with some even more interesting pets…!
“But, personally, I think people skills are extremely important. This may be surprising given that many surveyors work alone. Speaking to customers is an essential part of the job. If you’re looking around a customer’s private property to prepare a Scottish Home Report, it’s important to put them at ease by explaining who you are, what you’re about to do and how long it will take. In this instance, I also take the time at the end of the appointment to talk them through what I’m going to write in the Scottish Home Report so they know what to expect (not relevant for Mortgage Valuations or HomeBuyer’s Reports).”
So, finally, as an ex-estate agent, do you have any advice for others who’re thinking about joining the industry?
“Definitely. Estate agents (and EPC assessors!) make great property surveyors! They have valuation experience in abundance, and they know the local property market really well to provide on-the-spot valuations to customers. Plus, they have those all-important people skills I mentioned earlier!”
e.surv Chartered Surveyors
If you’re an Estate Agent or EPC Assessor thinking about making the move into surveying, why not give a member of our recruitment team a call? They’ll be able to talk you through the options available.
Alternatively, if you’re a qualified Chartered Surveyor looking for your next surveying job with career progression opportunities, we’d love to hear from you too.
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