A RICS-accredited degree can take you anywhere in the world

Isla Thomas - Quantity Surveying

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."