Identifying a career direction isn’t always straightforward. For many, it takes time and life experience to realise exactly what it is you wish to do.
It’s an added benefit to continuing studies beyond undergraduate level; something that Sir Thomas White Loan Charity education loan borrower Greg Curtis can identify with.
Greg, from Oadby, knew what interested him and the kind of area he wanted to work in, but didn’t have a specific job role or specialist field in mind.
“I always had an interest in property and construction, but I did not know what direction I wanted to go in when applying for UCAS,” explains Greg. “There was such a breadth of curses on offer in a very diverse industry and it felt intimidating, as I did not want to pick the wrong career path. I wanted to explore different options and gain more experience of the industry, as well as develop a broader range of skills generally.”
Greg made the decision to enrol on an undergraduate course in geography, an area that he had always enjoyed studying at school and one that would provide him with an opportunity to develop skills that would aid an aspiring career in the property industry.
“During my degree at University of Nottingham, I completed work experience in an architect’s practice, as well as a large property consultancy and knew that construction and surveying was the direction for me. Towards the end of my second year, I explored some options with the university’s Careers Advice department and decided that building surveying was the direction for me. I needed to study on a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors accredited course in order to become a surveyor.”
As Greg’s undergraduate degree was in geography rather than property – this resulted in the need to study for a postgraduate qualification to help progression of his identified career path. Once the course was identified, the next port of call was seeking help from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.
“Fortunately, one of my parent’s friends knew about the Charity,” says Greg. “I recall that the application process was straightforward and easy to navigate. I had an interview, which I remember being daunting at the time. However, the panel were friendly and were simply inquisitive about my life and aspirations, rather than trying to make the experience difficult.”
One of the benefits of postgraduate study, alongside the qualification at the end of it, are the opportunities presented as part of the course.
“An appeal of the course I studied at Nottingham Trent University was that part of the final module took place on work experience within the industry. I was able to apply for longer-term work placements over the summer months whilst completing my dissertation. When I had job interviews, the real-world experience I had was a huge help, as it gave me an added area to discuss.
“The course also gave me the foundations of the technical knowledge I needed to help develop my surveying career. When I started my graduate position, I had the basics to also begin studying towards my Assessment of Professional Competence and become a chartered surveyor.”
Greg used his education loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity to pay for a large proportion of his tuition fees. Living at home whilst studying meant that he was able to focus the financial support on tuition; working part-time in Leicester as he completed his postgraduate course.
“I had previously applied for a Professional Career and Development Loan through a bank, where student finance is not available on postgraduate courses,” reveals Greg. “The level of interest and repayment provisions from the bank was difficult and would have restricted when I could have studied the course.”
Greg obtained Chartered Surveyor status in 2016, during which time he was working in his first surveying role in Milton Keynes. He admits that he is constantly learning as he develops in his chosen career, since moving to Birmingham as he works his way up a ladder which consists of graduate, chartered, senior, associate, partner and director.
“Surveying provides the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of interest,” explains Greg. “I enjoy the project management aspect of the role, overseeing the refurbishment and conversion works of different types of properties. I’d like to concentrate on this element of building surveying in my career.
“Undertaking further study has been the best decision for me, as it has meant that I could follow my chosen career path,” continues Greg. The Sir Thomas White loan helped financially, where the alternative would have meant a bank loan that would have been unaffordable.”
For more information on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s education loans, please CLICK HERE