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Impact of the 2001 RICS education reforms on building surveying

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conference contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sara Wilkinson, M Hoxley
It is of major concern to the Surveying profession that the seven years between 1994 and 2001, witnessed a decline in the numbers of UK student surveyors of nearly 50%. This was significant, especially when considered in the context of rising student numbers overall. Of equal concern, and set against the backdrop of a general move in education and the workplace to widen participation, was the reduction in applications from females, some 50% of the workforce. Furthermore demand for surveyors was high, and practices found it difficult to recruit graduate surveyors. The factors leading to low uptake in the profession were; low starting graduate salaries; lack of publicity and awareness of surveying as a career option, and a poor public image. The RICS decided to implement an education policy with the aim of increasing graduate quality. The policy adopted stated that 75% of each student cohort was to have an average of 17 A level points or 230 UCAS points for entry on undergraduate courses. These changes were introduced in UK Universities from September 2001. A number of Universities saw their professionally accredited courses withdrawn as the RICS imposed academic entry standards and research output based on the UK Government’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) criteria on which to base their ‘partnership’ relationships. Simultaneously there has been the development of post-graduate degree courses in surveying in the UK to attract noncognate degree holders into the profession on a fast track basis. The policy has generated a considerable amount of debate and very strong views within academia and also within the profession as to whether the policy was appropriate, and likely to succeed. It is now over 3 years since the policy was implemented and figures released by the RICS in 2003 indicated that surveying student numbers have increased by 17%, in all areas except Building Surveying where they fell by just under 25% to 445 in 2001. A number of questions arise. Why were Building Surveying courses failing to recruit students whereas other surveying courses have increased their numbers? If the figures continue to decline or remain at these low levels, what is the future for the BS? In short, could Building Surveying become an endangered profession? All university BS course leaders were approached by questionnaire and approximately half responded. The small amount of quantitative data collected, suggest that recruitment is static at a time when other built environment courses are recruiting well. Course leaders expressed strong views about the impact of the education reforms.



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E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

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2005, Queensland University of Technology, School of Engineering Systems

Title of proceedings

COBRA 2005 : Proceedings of the Construction and Building Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

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