Refresher courses to be launched this autumn as surveying body tries to tackle skills shortage

The RICS is set to address the skills shortage in surveying by launching refresher courses for people who have left the profession but wish to return.

A pilot scheme will be launched in the West Midlands this autumn for QSs and project managers. The long-term plan is to roll it out across the UK by mid-2008 and make it open to all professions covered by the RICS.

Michael Byng, the RICS’ quantity surveying and construction chairman, is leading the project. He said: “People coming back to technical professions like these feel like they’ve lost pace. If people decide to come back after a job change or having children, then the RICS wants to help make integration as easy as possible.”

The courses will run over six weeks, with modules based on issues such as new technology and sustainable construction.

The RICS is also thought to be on the verge of winning its application to get the Home Office to rethink laws on keeping foreign QSs out of the UK. The victory, which would see quantity surveying added to the skills shortage list for UK work permits, would be the result of a seven-month battle since the application was lodged last autumn.

If successful, foreign QSs will be able to move more freely into the country, which should help alleviate the current skills shortage crisis. Being on the list will mean employers do not have to prove every possible avenue to hire a British worker has been exhausted before looking abroad.

With the Olympics approaching and a lack of QSs to carry out the work, such a decision would be a relief for the RICS and the industry. The next step is to launch a similar campaign for project managers, which are also in short supply.