Initiatives to get kids into Surveying – By Katie Holt

It has been a busy time for inspiring the next generation of surveyors….

We, at Chartered ICES, have been involved recently in various initiatives to encourage children in to surveying as a career.

It is clear from the ongoing needs of the construction industry that there will be a significant shortfall in the number of suitably qualified individuals to take up post in organisations working on the huge infrastructure projects that the UK will be embarking on over the next 10 to 20 years.  The shortfall in construction skills is mirrored in the supporting geospatial profession.  Geospatial engineers play a critical role in construction, ensuring what is built is in the right place, at the right size, to the right specifications and that it does not move or degrade to become a risk to human safety.

There are loads of initiatives currently to help promote the surveying profession to children – we are working with Get Kids into Survey (GKIS) as their UK and Europe distribution partner, we are also involved with Class of Your Own (COYO) and their ambassadors scheme to enable volunteers to go into schools and show children what surveying is all about. GKIS and COYO are developing SURVEY Fest, where survey professionals can take part in hands-on activities with schools, showing children the opportunities available to them within surveying. The first of these was on 1 October at St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Salford.

Other initiatives include Building People, a platform for bringing together information about construction careers and workplace opportunities in one central place. The pilot for surveying opportunities was launched at Construction Week on 9 October. The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust also has a pilot scheme enabling volunteers to go into schools to incorporate construction and surveying into the geography curriculum. Our members are involved in shaping this initiative.

Get Kids into Survey

Get Kids into Survey was set up by sisters Elaine and Elly Ball, who produce posters to appeal to schoolchildren featuring characters carrying out surveying activities and questions to prompt the children to think about what is going on in the poster. They have produced a number of posters now, focusing on civil engineering, smart cities, hydrographic surveying and so on.  The posters are sponsored by industry bodies and businesses and feature the latest geospatial technologies.  There is also a task list on each poster to help children engage with the cartoon and look for items or find out more about certain topics.

Class of Your Own

Class of Your Own is an initiative set up by Alison Watson 10 years ago and consists of a curriculum – Design Engineer Construct! or DEC! This enables children to learn about the construction industry and carry out projects based on many of the roles involved.  The course is taught at various levels through secondary school and teachers welcome the involvement of practitioners in schools to show how the subject relates to real life construction projects.

COYO’s Adopt a School scheme was developed to address the lack of young talent in the built environment.  It brings together industry and academia, and enables companies to “gift” the DEC! suite of qualifications and opportunities to schools across the UK.  Adopters commit to funding a minimum two year programme of study providing recognised qualifications to hundreds of young learners.

CICES members are involved in this scheme, going in to schools and helping with the projects run as part of the DEC curriculum.


On 1 October CICES, along with other organisations, was involved in the first ever ‘SURVEY Fest’ – a one day event aimed at encouraging high school pupils to think about a career in surveying.  The event, which was set up by Get Kids into Survey and Class of Your Own, brought together a host of industry experts to share expertise from the surveying field with eager 11 and 12-year-old pupils.

This initiative was developed to address the skills shortage in construction, and surveying in particular.  Volunteers from various organisations carried out activities with the school children and teachers to show them how the maths and other subjects that they learn in school link to real life jobs and careers. 

This was a pilot and plans are underway to roll out the vision to other schools across the country.

Building People

On Wednesday 9th October 2019 Building People demonstrated its proof of concept platform, to connect existing organisations, companies, initiatives and activities with people looking for opportunities in the Built Environment.

Phase One of Building People is the search portal, signposting individuals to organisations and initiatives that can help access work, learning and support opportunities. Phase Two is where Building People gets really exciting. The pilot commenced in April 2019 and is a partnership with the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSTT), connecting candidates to work experience and to resources in surveying.  CICES careers information and video are included in this platform as part of this pilot.

CSTT (Chartered Surveyors Training Trust)

The CSTT was established to help individuals overcome the barriers they face in pursuing a career in surveying.  CSTT has evolved its activities in order to meet the requirements of its charitable objective, to facilitate entry into the surveying profession of people from non-typical parts of society.

CSTT is building a far reaching schools programme that opens the eyes of young people, their teachers and their parents to the wide range of interesting, well paid and rewarding careers open to people offered by the built environment sector, with an initial focus on Surveying. 

Through the new CSTT ‘My Environment – My Future’ website teachers will be able to inspire students to appreciate the environment that we share.

‘My Environment – My Future’ will include Geography lesson plans as well as access and introductions to local surveyors on current and real-life projects

CICES members have been involved in the planning stages of this initiative to ensure that the information included is appropriate for modern surveying methods and the activities involved.

As well as all these initiatives, CICES also regularly receives ad-hoc requests for volunteers at school events and construction careers activities, such as Big Bang Fair and individual schools initiatives.  If anybody would like to get involved in these activities, either contact CICES direct at or contact the individual organisations via their websites. If you do take part in any schools or careers activities, please let me know. The more we can learn from our shared experiences, the better we can develop them going forwards.

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