Friday, 1 February 2013

Surveyors don't forget.......

A good assistant (or even a bad one but for totally different reasons!)

Since using one man kit I have started to really appreciate the benefits of a good assistant (and been glad of the freedom from some bad ones)!!!  So here is my personal tribute to the better assistants to have been honoured to be trained by me (I use the terms honoured & trained very loosely).  These are my top five in no particular order, but as a tradition ladies first:-

Alyson (Yogurt Spiller) Bell (2001).  

One of the many work experience students who I have worked with, she spent the best part of four months working in our office being taught the 'proper' way to do things.  Not once was there a complaint, quick to learn, & eager to ask questions, perhaps a little to comfortable at the end making jokes about her Surveyor but I'll let that one slip.  Current where abouts unknown, but I'd love to find out.

Leanne (Far too short) Cochrane (2007-2012).  

A full time trainee Surveyor graduating to a fully fledged Surveyor.  Beyond her height she gave as good as she got in a very male office, eager to learn & ask questions, and generally had her mind on the job.  Currently Surveyor/Geospatial Manager(!) with Dover Harbour Board

Chris (Pretty Boy) Holley (2005-2012).

Started with the same employer within a month of each other, and left within a matter of months.  Joined the company as a raw recruit, and left a fully paid member of the Surveying fraternity, now having moved on he is fulfilling the potential he was never allowed to explore before.  Best without a safety net, and prospering as a result.  Currently Survey Manager at Bovis Homes

Matt (What did your Mum feed you) Bolton (2002).

Another work experience student, far too tall for his own good and made me appreciate the problems of being vertically challenged when taking over the instrument work!  Current career and whereabouts unknown, but I'd love to find out.

Matt (Moaning) Morgan (2005 - 2010)

Similar to Chris started around the same time, but left a little earlier to following his calling to travel & become a holiday rep.  Arguably his dream job, but as a Surveyor he could have been very good if his mind stayed on the job and didn't rise to the banter hence his inclusion.  Currently repping in Southern Spain (I think?)

This little exercise got me thinking since I started Surveying at the end of the last Millenia(!) I have counted 35 separate Survey Assistants, and that doesn't include time when I used to work in teams of two Surveyors!  Survey Assistants are the life blood of Surveying, the future we all need to support and help grow - however the advent of modern technology and the ever increasing squeeze on costs means an Assistant is a luxury many of us can't afford.  The latest robotic equipment is amazing, but it doesn't afford the time to train new staff especially for the smaller firms.  University & college courses do provide a good foundation but there is no replacement for on the job training and apprenticeship schemes for Surveyors are few and far between, and during my quick browse no such schemes existed in the South East - the search continues........

Note from Beccy:  No Mike, it is NOT acceptable to do a similar blog naming and shaming the rubbish assistants!!


  1. You remind me of the days at Claverham School when we had to drag a surveyors chain around the school to make a map. I still hate triangulation! We even made our own clinometers in the metalwork shop. You do still use clinometers, don't you?
    Say, do you need an assistant who's slightly related? What travel allowances do you give from Devon?

  2. I still have my first chain survey up in our office, but Clinometrers and chains have been consigned to the closet, although kit is still as heavy. I'll consider the job request, could be our Devon office