A skills shortage is set to affect Ireland’s ability to address its housing crisis and infrastructure deficit, it is claimed.
In particular there is a shortfall of qualified graduates coming into the profession, according to the newly elected president of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) Claire Solon, a chartered planning and development surveyor.
Research carried out by the Society earlier this year revealed that over 2,000 new job opportunities are expected to be created across the surveying profession in the next four years.
However, based on current enrolment numbers, there will only be enough construction and property related surveying graduates to fill just over half of them and Solon it was imperative to have the qualified personnel to meet the needs of the Irish economy.
‘It’s not only the construction of homes that we need these qualified graduates, it’s also for the delivery of infrastructure that our country needs to keep pace with the growth of the economy, such as office buildings, hotels, roads and bridges,’ she explained.
‘I will be looking at several ways in which we can combat this shortage to get graduates into the workforce faster such as on the job training programmes as well as accelerating routes for those interested in becoming surveyors,’ she added.
This will included a media campaign to encourage students to choose construction and property courses. ‘We’re working with accredited colleges and in-house to develop part time and and modular programmes which enables people to work while studying or to convert graduates from other areas like business or economics into the property & construction sector,’ Solon pointed out.
She also said that women only account for one fifth of the Society’s membership and that needed to change. ‘When speaking with female graduates, they often say that they were unaware of the vast array of professions that exist within the surveying umbrella. So I believe communication is key here, to really highlight the variety of careers within surveying,’ said Solon.
She pointed out that a chartered planning and development surveyor can be involved in managing teams from the initial viability study to the delivery of major building projects while a chartered facilities manager could be tasked with organising the operation of high spec office premises for technology companies such as Facebook, Google or Ebay.
‘If you prefer the outdoor life, chartered geomatic surveyors spend most of their time on site, now using high powered drones and sophisticated technology to map and survey land,’ she added.