Having started at Workman in 2018 via the Apprenticeship Scheme, Stefan Radic graduated with a BSc in Building Surveying from UCEM four years later. He is now preparing to sit the APC.
What three words describe Workman?
Professional, busy, rewarding.
What was your key learning during your apprenticeship process?
The apprenticeship process has allowed me to have transferrable skills from learning about the specific topic in my university studies to applying it in my day-to-day role as a Building Surveyor. This has drastically accelerated my development and understanding. Learning on the job has also assisted me in completing my university assignments and revising for the RICS APC assessment. From undertaking surveys to managing projects and dealing with multiple clients on a daily basis, while being guided by my experienced colleagues has made the apprenticeship process invaluable.
Why do you think the apprenticeship approach is important for the industry as a whole, and why would you recommend it to others?
The apprenticeship route is important to the industry as a whole because it allows individuals to progress their career while learning on the job.
To be paid a salary to undertake the role of Apprentice Building Surveyor, while gaining vital experience and a university degree, but incurring no student debt… to me it is an obvious choice!
How are you putting your newly developed skills to their best use at Workman?
I am utilising my newly developed skills in a project at Albemarle House in Mayfair, Central London. The project is a terracotta repair and replacement to the front and side elevations of the Grade II listed property. There are several stakeholders involved in this project and the works have had to be carefully programmed to suit the occupier’s requirements at the property, as the entire building is occupied. The building comprises of office accommodation on all upper floors, with retail stores to the ground floor. The noisy working periods had to be agreed with all the occupiers, while meeting the agreed construction programme and budget.
Tell us about your role within Building Surveying, and why this is important to the firm and its clients?
My role in the Building Surveying team at Workman LLP covers a number of Professional and Project Management-based instructions within the commercial sector. These instructions have included a Licence to Alterations, Project Management, Contract Administration, Defect Diagnosis, Landlord/Tenant advice, and Dilapidations instructions for several clients. I believe that the firm and clients value my hard work and personal development since the start of my surveying journey.
How do you hope to develop your role in the coming months and years?
By the end of 2023, I would have sat my RICS APC assessment, and I hope that I’ll be going into 2024 as a Chartered Building Surveyor. In terms of my role, I am looking forward to further developing my career and guiding future new starters and apprentices through the whole process.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
My standout moment at Workman thus far would be completing my degree while working. Being one of the first apprentices at Workman, at times it proved challenging juggling a university degree and working at the same time, but my resilience and hard work ensured that I made it sustainable.
What more could the property industry be doing to ensure that progress is made within Building Surveying in general?
I would recommend that the property industry magnifies the importance of Building Surveying and encourages people of any background to pursue a career in the industry. One way this can be done is by contacting schools to speak publicly to the students and attending career fairs to promote the industry.
In my experience, I have found that not many people understand what Building Surveyors do, and I believe that is due to a lack of representation to the general public. If more people were made aware of the job and the vast opportunities that come with it, they could be more inclined to consider a career in Building Surveying and tackle the statistical decrease of Chartered Surveyors in the UK.
What change would you make to the wider property sector? And why?
One change I would recommend to the wider property sector is the encouragement by educational bodies and industry leaders in implementing the importance of apprenticeships over traditional routes such as university. As the construction industry is substantially orientated to on-the-job training it is a beneficial way for individuals to get their ‘foot in the door’ at an early stage of their career.
During my A-Levels, there was a minimal reference to apprenticeships, and the traditional university pathway was widely seen as the only route. I believe that if there was a better representation of apprenticeships by schools it would benefit many people in a similar situation as myself at the time.
It’s often said that fresh talent is the future of the property industry. In your experience as a relative newcomer to the industry, what are the most important aspects of coaching and developing younger staff?
The most important aspect of coaching and developing younger staff in the industry is to have helpful and knowledgeable colleagues that can guide newcomers through the RICS APC process and answer general queries to develop their understanding and duties of a surveyor.
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman?
In my spare time, I like to travel. It is enriching to see how other cultures approach day-to-day activities and to learn about their distinctive yet similar lifestyles.
What is your favourite building worldwide and why?
I could not decide between the Western City Gate (Geneks Building) in Belgrade or Trellick Tower in North Kensington. Both buildings are of a brutalist architecture style and were constructed in the 1970s. Western City Gate is preserved under the Cultural Heritage of Serbia and Trellick Tower is a Grade II* Listed Building. Although both buildings could be seen as unappealing, they provide a combination of utopia and dystopia. Utopia in the sense of a strong community and affordable housing in congested capital cities and dystopia shown in buildings of that era through the ageing structures and lack of maintenance over the years. Overall, both buildings remain monumental with a futuristic style.
What first led you into the property industry?
The majority of my family has been involved in the property industry in some way from my father, a painter and decorator to my auntie, an estate agent. Upon choosing my A-Levels, I did not know what I wanted to do as a career but after doing summer work experience and speaking to my family members, I knew I wanted to be involved in the property industry too. It is an industry that benefits social and economic development and is always changing so it continuously remains exciting and rewarding.
What book or podcast do you recommend?
A book I recommend is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki – this book focuses on the importance of financial literacy from a young age. As seen on the front cover of the book, the book investigates ‘What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!’.