As part of our Mentorber awareness month to share top tips and experience of mentoring in the surveying industry Phil Parnham, Director at BlueBox Partners and Christopher Moran a trainee surveyor share their experiences.
Chris approached me a few weeks ago and asked whether I would be able to support his learning and career development. Like many mentors, my first thought was ‘well I haven’t got the time but I need to put something back into the profession and Chris does live locally’.
After our first couple of sessions I discovered that this work is far from a drain on my time but gives me an opportunity to sharpen up my own skills and knowledge. For example, explaining a process to another person forces you to analyse what you actually ‘do’ so it can be explained as a series of clear and understandable steps or stages. Additionally, straightforward questions like ‘why do you do it that way?’ or ‘so how do report that to your client?’ can stop me in my tracks and force me to reflect on my own practice. Consequently, for the more experienced practitioner mentoring is far from a burden, something you do to resolve your guilty conscience but some of the best CPD you can undertake – it helps keep you current and sharp.
When I found out that ‘the man who wrote the book’ (Phil co-authored the core text box of my course) lived in my local area, I thought I’d reach out and see if he would be willing to assist me with mentoring. When Phil agreed, I was over the moon. As the recent #mentorber initiative has focused on, the complications of Covid-19 have slowed a lot of physical shadowing for me and many of my fellow students, so in order to do something differently to overcome this, Phil and I have been using regular Zoom calls to allow the mentoring process to continue.
It’s a fantastic experience, and I am really developing my base level of knowledge. We focus on different aspects of surveying each session, e.g. chimney defects, moisture-related problems and discuss the intricacies of each area. I’ve even been lucky enough to help Phil develop some of the material for the 2nd edition of the Residential Appraisal book that is currently in production. All of this is really helping me solidify and advance my knowledge of residential surveying.
As a mature student moving from one profession to another, I’ve been so impressed by the supportive nature of the surveying industry, as demonstrated by Phil’s support. There is clearly a culture of helping new surveyors to develop and when the time is right, I am looking forward to supporting and mentoring the next generation of surveyors.