Isla Thomas from Lingfield in Surrey, attended Oxted School before coming to USW to study the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management.
"I think what influenced me to pick a degree in Quantity Surveying was the broad nature of the degree. I loved Maths at school, but didn’t want to study a maths-orientated degree, so the prospect of using maths and law within a construction-based career really appealed to me.
I already had an interest in buildings through studying graphic design. What’s more, I was looking for a professional career with good prospects. The high demand for quantity surveyors was a huge factor, as having job security is so important.
The course is going really well. I have enjoyed whatever form of mathematical problem I've encountered. In my second year I was introduced to Building Information Modelling (BIM), a software that is becoming increasingly widespread within the industry, so it was valuable to learn as well as very enjoyable to use.
I have completed several ‘take-offs’ which involve pricing up construction works (e.g. foundations) by measuring and quantifying the amount of materials required from a set of drawings. A lot of our coursework is based around real scenarios and, therefore, the work has to be completed to the same industry standards, such as implementing health and safety on a construction project. I have found the site visits especially valuable as you gain a better insight into what a construction site is like and how it operates.
Construction is so much more than an architect designing a structure and builders creating it. It is a diverse industry with a wide range of people and roles within it. Most people know what an architect does, but less is known about the role of a quantity surveyor, especially when you are at school and choosing what to study at University. I think this is why fewer women than men consider it for their degrees. (That said, I was pleased to discover that I was one of several women on the QS course at USW! Twenty per cent of second year students are female.)
Construction is a really exciting industry to be a part of. You can work on everything from housing developments to massive scale civil engineering projects. And once you have a RICS-accredited degree, you can work anywhere in the world."