My journey to becoming a Surveyor – Leona Corbett
When it came to deciding what college course to do I was at a loss. I always had an interest in property, architecture and was fascinated with the history of buildings. My father suggested the idea of a career in property, which was initially residential focused. I started a course in Auctioneering, Valuation and Estate agency in Senior College Dun Laoghaire. After completing the two year course I decided to do an additional year in Athlone Institute of Technology where I completed a Bachelor in Business and Real Estate. This course gave me my first insights into commercial property and its various sectors which would ultimately broaden my career prospects in the sector.
In 2011 I graduated from Athlone IT and interviewed for an internship with Sherry FitzGerald. I started with them and worked for six months in their Terenure Branch in residential sales of second-hand homes. At the time DTZ were the commercial arm of Sherry FitzGerald and I was offered a graduate role with DTZ Sherry FitzGerald (now Cushman & Wakefield).
Prior to this, I thought I would forge a career in the residential sector however, I soon realised a more commercially focused role within DTZ would offer me a more varied role in the broader property market. Cushman & Wakefield/DTZ have an excellent graduate program with a clear focus on registering for the APC program, with the goal of becoming a Chartered Surveyor. Unfortunately when registering I learned the property course I completed was not accredited by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) and I was unable to register. This was a devastating blow and something I had not been expecting. So I set out looking for an accredited course whilst retaining my role within DTZ. In addition, I had also to come to terms with going back to college. Due to the impact of the recession at this time, many property courses had ceased in Ireland. I heard about the University of Reading and applied for their Masters in Surveying. I spend almost 4 years completing my master’s in surveying from the University of Reading through distance learning while working, alongside registering for my APC and starting my journey to becoming a Chartered Surveyor. During this time I worked in Retail Agency and Valuation & Advisory Departments within Cushman & Wakefield before moving to the Office Agency department in 2015. In 2017 I completed my masters and immediately undertook my APC which I successfully passed in the autumn of 2017.
Juggling a masters and a full-time job was challenging however, I found both my course and day job complimented each other. I spent three and a half years working in the office department specialising in office acquisitions by assisting companies with leasing office space around Dublin. It was a fast paced working environment where I gained invaluable experience of all aspects of each transaction and dealing with an extensive Client base.
In 2018 I felt drawn towards the West of Ireland (being originally from Mayo) but I battled with potentially leaving a job I was loved. I spoke to my Manager at the time and advised of my relocation plans and we discuss the opportunity of our regional office in Galway. Six months later I started with Cushman & Wakefield in Galway in a Valuation and Advisory role. I now live in Mayo and work in Galway and while the commute is long, I was thrilled to stay with a company such as Cushman & Wakefield who have supported my relocation in many ways.
Looking back now, I am reminded of the obstacles along the way and how my route to becoming a Chartered Surveyor has been different to many of my Colleagues in the industry. The prolonged route has given me experience is different areas and has been an enjoyable route none the same.