Staff stories

My journey to property: Geoffrey Chihuri, Graduate Building Surveyor

Tarina Zubair

Geoffrey Chihuri joined TFT this year having made the decision to be a building surveyor a bit later in life. With the wisdom and maturity that comes with age, he is able to see where the industry falls short for newcomers. We spoke to him about how his expectations fit the reality of the industry on a personal and a professional level.

My journey to property
How did you get into the industry and what led you to your current role?

I was inspired from a young age to work with buildings having watched with a keen eye my parents build several properties. Fast forward several years with a sound engineering course behind me, I decided to speak to a careers advisor about suitable opportunities as well as having chats with numerous industry professionals. It was then that I realised that building surveying had my name written all over it and so I enrolled into the University of Central Lancashire to study building surveying and it has been an upward trajectory since!

I am currently undertaking my APC and aspire to become chartered as soon as possible. I look forward to serving the industry to the best of my ability!

Have you come across any particular challenges within your role/the industry?

Starting a new role in building surveying whilst we face COVID-19 has been rather different to what I experienced during my placement year. Social distancing means not seeing colleagues as frequently as I would usually, however the staff at TFT have been very supportive with my career progression.

The other conundrum I have faced is within myself. I had an expectation that I would come across certain challenges due to my ethnic background. This was mainly influenced by the feedback I got from my peers when I indicated that I was going to study building surveying.

Hand on heart though, throughout my placement year to present, I can say that I have not experienced exclusion of any form and I have not come across challenges within my role in the industry as a result of my ethnicity.

Do you have any advice to give people who don’t know too much about it or who are considering going into the industry?

My advice to anyone considering a career in the construction industry is to do plenty of research from the start! The industry is rather broad so it is pivotal to speak to career advisors and/or those within the industry before applying for college or university. Doing so will help align your career aspirations to a suitable discipline within the industry!

After identifying your suitable discipline, I would strongly recommend researching which body(s) governs your chosen discipline and apply for a course with an appropriate accreditation. I made the mistake of applying to a university that was not RICS-accredited however, I managed to transfer to a RICS-accredited university after completing my first year.

So…research, research, research!

If you could change the industry in any way, what would you change?

Having recently graduated, I feel that educational institutions and employers should collaborate better to offer more work experience opportunities to students. There seems to be a huge gap between academic and industry acumen. Doing so would give students the knowledge and experience of what to expect of the industry prior to starting in their first role.

Click here to view Geoffrey’s LinkedIn page.

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