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Ellie-May Craddock, a senior surveyor working on infrastructure projects for Fisher German, gives an insight into working on a major Development Consent Order (DCO) project and discusses why the future is bright for those pursuing a career in utilities.

I joined Fisher German as a graduate in 2017, after completing a degree in Rural Land Management at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. My first experience with Fisher German was a summer work experience placement at the firm’s Worcester office in my second year of university during which I spent half of my time working in the utilities team on water schemes and the other half on rural valuations and estate management.

It was fantastic as it gave me a variety of experience and following the placement, I was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position with the firm once I’d graduated. Getting a job offer in advance was a huge relief and was an excellent start to my final year of university.

During my time with the firm, I’ve been lucky to progress very quickly, passing my RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) in October 2019 and then my CAAV (Central Association of Agricultural Valuers) in November 2019 and also being promoted to Senior Surveyor in April this year. I have a lead role on the quickest DCO project in the UK and internally at Fisher German I am a line manager for a placement student and a graduate surveyor - I really enjoy supporting the team. I’m an ambitious, career-driven person so it was very important to me to have a progression route in place which is something that is clearly laid out at Fisher German.

As well as my role within Fisher German I am also set to become the Tutor Convener of the Midland Counties branch of the CAAV for the next three years. I have a farming background and really enjoy it, so having that role will allow me to keep my agricultural knowledge up-to-date whilst also supporting students with their learnings too.

The main and most interesting project I’m currently working on is a DCO project in the South West replacing an underground pipeline. I’m extremely lucky to have been working on the project since it began in 2017 and have very much taken a lead role in relation to land access. The pipeline impacts almost 250 landowners, and my main role has been to manage land access onto private land for all invasive and non-invasive surveys, with a particular highlight being the completion of archaeological trial trenches across 100 landowners during the summer of 2020.

This project is sizeable and will continue for a number of years to come as we move on to the construction phase. For works to begin, our role is to serve the relevant notices, engaging with the owners and occupiers of the land and undertaking pre-entry meetings with them to discuss the next phase of the Project. I will have a lead role in this phase, working with the construction team and ensuring that access requirements are achieved as per the required deadlines for the project.

I definitely see myself as a utilities surveyor, specialising in the delivery of DCOs, going forward. Even though you might not learn a lot about it at university, those looking into a career in utilities shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown. It’s such an interesting sector to work in and there’s a strong progression path. You are given a level of responsibility from the start and are recognised for both your capabilities and potential.

The horizon looks hugely positive for utilities and infrastructure. We’re very much going into a green future. I’m sitting here as a qualified surveyor and am lucky enough to be at the forefront of all of these changes with a future-proofed career.

To find out more about working in the utilities & infrastructure at Fisher German, watch our latest video here.