Celebrating International Women’s Day – Part One.

Original Article
March 9th, 2023


Banner celebrating international women's day

Wednesday 8th March marked International Women’s Day – a global day honouring the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, raising awareness about discrimination and calling for action to drive gender parity.

This week, we’ve extended our International Women’s Day celebrations to delve into the careers and accomplishments of the Sava women leading the way in technical roles within the property industry.

Surveying is traditionally a male-dominated profession, but times are changing! In part one of our women in tech blog in celebration of International Women’s Day, we meet Sava colleagues Carys Atkinson and Hilary Grayson.

Meet Carys Atkinson, Residential Surveying Lead

Image of Carys AtkinsonCarys joined Sava in January 2021 as Residential Surveying Lead. “I’m here to provide support to learners in training and assessment,” Carys explained, “This may be talking through technical construction questions, hints and tips relating to valuation, or general support via email or through webinars.”

“It was by a mile the best thing I have ever done”

Carys was an estate agent for almost 20 years before following her dream of becoming a residential surveyor and valuer by embarking on the Sava Diploma in Residential Valuation and Surveying.

“I had always wanted to be a surveyor and left school with the mindset of taking a year out before embarking on my studies; however, I joined an estate agent where I was earning good money for an 18-year-old and suddenly the surveying route felt further and further away.

“I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, temporarily losing my eyesight and the ability to walk properly. I am now in treatment, which pushed me to do what I could, whilst I could. And it was meant to be as, shortly afterward, a representative from Sava stepped into my old office and I signed up to the diploma the very next week.

“The training was tough but 6 years on and it was by a mile the best thing I have ever done. The late nights, weekends locked away in front of the computer, and the anxiety of feedback have all drifted into insignificance!”

“I can’t imagine ever being bored”

We asked Carys what she loves most about working in a technical role.

“It really keeps my brain ticking. I still learn something new every day – I can’t imagine ever being bored working in this role. For anyone looking to enter the profession, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s amazing, rewarding and exciting. There are so many possibilities for the route you can take.”

Meet Hilary Grayson, Director of Surveying Services

Image of Hilary Grayson, Director of Surveying ServicesHilary joined Sava in 2003 and is now Director of Surveying Services where she heads up Sava’s training development and quality assurance team.

When asked about her role, Hilary explained:

“Really it’s about identifying opportunities and skills shortages in the surveying profession and the surveying sector as it impacts on residential property, to develop training content and specifically look at how being innovative can facilitate new ways into the profession.”

“I fell into surveying by accident…”

Hilary’s interest in residential surveying was sparked in quite an unusual way.

“I haven’t had what you might describe as a traditional career path. I fell into surveying by accident. In fact, after I’d left school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. It was my grandmother’s funeral that I met somebody who said ‘have you thought about being a surveyor?’ and I said ‘no, what’s a surveyor?’ and he said ‘come and work with me for a week and I’ll tell you all about it.’”

Following a degree in Estate Management at Southbank Polytechnic (now LSBU), Hilary qualified as a General Practice Surveyor in 1983 leading her to work for private consultancies in London and Bromley Council before joining the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). At Sava, she went on to set up the original assessment centre and created the Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation.

“There is much more of a sisterhood in the profession…”

We asked Hilary what advice she’d give to women and girls considering a technical career.

“Go for it. Don’t overthink it and certainly don’t be put off that you might be a woman in a man’s world. When I first joined the profession, just under 10% of the membership of the RICS were women. It didn’t hold me back.

“There is much more of a sisterhood in the profession; there are people you can talk to. There is a much greater supportive network than there was. […] We’ve now had three presidents of the RICS who are women. I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime.”

You can watch Hilary’s interview for International Women’s Day on LinkedIn. To find out more about the Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation and browse our other training options, visit our residential surveying page.