What is your name, and what do you do?
My name is Rebecca Andrews. I'm a graduate surveyor here at Dalcour Maclaren, and I work in the water sector. My role includes providing land consultancy advice regarding compensation, acquisition, statutory legal requirements for land access and information about stakeholder management.
When did you start at DM?
I started at Dalcour Maclaren in 2019 after graduating from Aberdeen.
How is life at DM? Is it what you expected?
Life at DM has been great since I started; it has changed quite a bit since I began pre-COVID, but throughout the whole process, DM has been really flexible and welcoming, and it's been a great place to work as a graduate throughout the two years I've been here.
What is your favourite thing about coming into the office for work?
I really enjoy coming into the offices for work. I like catching up with my colleagues, seeing people I haven't seen in a while. Also, it's a great place to learn from other people as you're starting your career; overhearing conversations, listening to other people doing their work, and collaborating on things helps you as a graduate to progress in your career.
Why do you like it here?
I like it here at DM because of the workplace ethos; everyone is really friendly, and the company feels young and fresh, and I enjoy working with all of my colleagues. Our offices are in relatively rural locations with walks on our doorstep, so it's a lovely environment to work in as well.
What has surprised you the most about working on utilities and infrastructure projects?
I didn't have a lot of background knowledge on working in Utilities and Infrastructure before I started at DM, so I was surprised at the complexity of some of our bigger schemes, but also down to the smaller schemes as well. There's a lot to learn from the engineers, the project managers and the clients that help us in our daily work, and it's interesting to know that whole side of the rural industry.
Have you learnt anything strange about your industry?
I have learnt a few strange things along the way, a lot about water pipes and sewage, which I definitely didn't know before, but it really helps me in my work when I'm explaining things to landowners and stakeholders on the projects.
What does a normal day look like for you?
A typical day can look quite different for me, depending on what I'm doing; if I'm in the office or at home, I often start my day by checking emails. I can be on teams calls, catching up with colleagues, phoning clients and contractors, speaking to landowners and organising access compensation claims. Other days I may be out on-site; I might be travelling down to site meetings to take records of condition or be out to meet clients. It's a good mix of office, home and on-site as well.
If you could give yourself some advice when applying for graduate jobs, what would it be?
Some advice I would give to those applying for graduate jobs would be to ask loads of questions. Check with the people who are interviewing you; what your role will be, what the company is like, and what things you'll be doing when you first start. I think asking as many questions and being interested, and checking out whether a company aligns with what you want to be doing, is an excellent place to start.
What was the most important thing for you when looking for a graduate job? Do you still think that thing is important now?
One of the most important things for me when I was looking for a graduate job was the location; I needed to be in a specific area, which may not apply now, given how flexible we are with homeworking. But I'm really glad that I am based near our Bicester office, which means I can come in and quickly commute when I need to be in the office.
What is the most common misconception about your job?
One of the most common misconceptions about my job is when people hear the word surveyor; they automatically think we measure things or do building and property. I often have to explain that it's a broad term and that rural surveying encompasses many different sectors. So, there can be lots of misconceptions about our role, but it's enjoyable to explain to people what we do and why it's important.
Find out more about our graduate scheme here.
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