Working in real estate isn’t poison anymore, so what are the career opportunities – and how do you get in?

Toxicity surrounding real estate following the recent financial crash saw real estate, land and construction majors struggling to survive, with only a handful of students choosing careers in these fields.

it has turned around again and there are currently around 2,500 students in these disciplines in Irish colleges.

With the May 1st deadline for CAO applicants to select their courses approaching, James Lonergan, Director of Education and Continuing Professional Development at the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), told me about the new opportunities that are opening up – for students and for those who want to change careers.

Chartered Surveying is an honors degree and a variety of accredited courses are offered, mainly by the technical universities. With many professionals now changing careers and the competitive environment to attract students, the big change of late is the new range of courses students can take while continuing to work.

For example, in Dublin, Cork and Galway there are training courses leading to an advanced certificate equivalent to two years of a four year degree and these very popular courses qualify students for PSRA licensing.

SCSI has partnered with IT Sligo to offer new part-time courses in property facility management, as well as mechanical and electrical courses for surveyors – which are entirely online and aimed at those already in the workplace. This year will also see the start of the first apprenticeship training courses at master level. This course is ideal for prospective lateral entrants and those already working in a QS-like manner who would like to gain further qualifications while working.

Technological University Dublin (TUD) also offers ‘earn and learn’ courses in real estate, land and construction – not via a traditional CAO or apprenticeship route, but specifically for those who want to stay in the workforce while studying.

The range of options is overwhelming and there are courses for all personality types, from those interested in becoming a real estate agent, to surveying, construction surveying, to specialties such as land and rock surveying.

The merger of academic institutions (Limerick IT and Athlone IT are now TU Shannon while Sligo, Galway and Athlone ITs are now TU Atlantic) has resulted in a further expansion of the range of courses – albeit nationally, with demand from private sector professionals limiting availability by lecturers.

The demand for real estate, land and construction graduates is extremely high and jobs offer starting salaries of 30,000 euros. In some areas there is a serious shortage of skilled workers. For example, quantity surveyors are on Ireland’s ‘Critical Skills List’, making it easier to obtain visas, which has led to significant overseas recruitment.

An increasing proportion of women are taking survey courses, and SCSI operates a leadership and mentoring program for women in the industry.

Another smart initiative is the Space Surveyors schools programme, in partnership with Ordnance Survey Ireland and several universities, where students use satellite data to tackle environmental and social challenges such as climate change.

I recommend careers in real estate for those who like variety, dealing with people, and opportunities to work outside of the office. For all options contact James Lonergan at SCSI on (01) 6445501. Working in real estate isn’t poison anymore, so what are the career opportunities – and how do you get in?

Fry Electronics Team

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