More about Emily
In June 2020, NTU BSc (Hons) Building Surveying student Emily Cardy was announced as the Midlands winner of the Women In Property (WiP) 2020 Student Awards.
What made you choose to study at NTU?
I attended an open day at NTU, and a lecturer held a taster session that completely changed my opinion on where I wanted to go and what course I wanted to study! By the end of the day, NTU was my first choice. I turned down an unconditional offer at another local university in favour of studying Building Surveying here.
Have you been involved in any live projects or exciting briefs?
I have been involved in a few projects at university, but my most exciting to date has been the purchase and renovation of my rental home. I have written a blog on the purchasing process, but it has been both challenging and enjoyable. I have had to work my way through mortgage applications, purchasing processes, dealing with multiple professionals as well as project manage the renovation work. This project has been very eye opening and provided me with a taste of some of the things building surveyors may encounter in their day to day work.
Have you had any speakers or lecturers from industry visiting as part of your course?
In our first year, we had multiple industrial professionals come to NTU or meet with us at site visits. Meeting with a surveyor that worked for Davidson homes was a brilliant opportunity and allowed me to ask questions about the various routes that building surveyors can pursue. He was very informative and provided me with valuable insight on the way to approach my placement year to get the most varied experience possible.
Have you won any awards relating to your course and what did you do to receive this?
I was chosen earlier this year as NTU’s Women in Property (WIP) Woman of the year nomination, and in June was named the Midlands Regional Winner 2020 for WIP. I am now going on to compete in the Nationals and will have a chance to meet with some of the most influential people in the construction industry. I have always tried to be as involved in my course as possible; my nomination wasn’t simply based on academic achievement.
I am completely immersed in the property industry – it is my passion – and I think that this showed through my activities as a mentor, course representative and rep for the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. I have been involved in other activities such as the CIOB global student challenge, am very active on LinkedIn, and attended RICS and CIOB networking events that haven’t been arranged through my course. By being this involved in the industry, I have been able to stand out to the tutors and to future employers. It was this that tipped me as the winning candidate for NTU to nominate, and my honest passion for the industry that resonated with the judges of the WIP awards.
How did it make you feel when you received the award?
When they announced me as the winner I was in complete shock. The awards ceremony had to be held by Zoom due to the Covid-19 so, luckily, I didn’t have to stand up in front of people as it took me a while to acknowledge they had said my name! I had convinced myself I wouldn’t win and wasn’t too worried, because regardless of moving to the next stage I had met some incredible people and had a great time on my trip to Birmingham to meet the judges.
For the next couple of days, I received lots of congratulations and began to accept that I was going to the next stage and would get to experience even more incredible things. Hopefully the next awards dinner will be able to go ahead in person.
I was also lucky enough to secure a permanent job with the Midlands WIP sponsors, ISG. They are supporting me working part time throughout the final year of my degree and have taken the pressure off finding a graduate placement as my role will become full time upon graduation. The whole experience has just made me realise that I should believe in myself and encouraged me to want to share my experiences with people that may not believe they can do it. It doesn’t matter what age, or gender you are, or what background you have, if you have a passion for property then the industry will want you.
Have you completed any work placements on your course?
I have worked in an electrical company prior to starting university, but since studying at NTU I have undertaken shadowing with the Canal Trust at a local restoration project that they are undertaking. I have also completed project management through my own company, managing the renovation of our rental home. What I have learned from my work experience is that I learn well from hands on learning.
I have developed skills in networking, communication and greatly enhanced my understanding of construction by talking to professionals. We can undertake a placement year between year two and three at NTU, which I am currently in the process of applying for with multiple companies. There are also summer internship opportunities that I am looking into.
How did you source your placement? Did you get support from the NTU Employability Team?
Finding work experience is challenging, particularly outside of your placement year. Many companies will only offer placements to year out students (between years two and three).
Networking is key. I attended the women in the built environment conference, and a RICS matrix event and connected with those that I chatted to on LinkedIn. I also went to the placement property fair in my first year – which I highly recommend. All of my work experience was found by simply asking my connections on LinkedIn. I also have been contacted prior to this year’s property careers fair and arranged to talk with multiple people that I know will be there. I am hoping that this will be advantageous in my search for a year out placement.
The Employability Team have also been helpful. Their CV service is invaluable and has really helped me to refine my applications.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking about studying your course? Why would you recommend NTU?
Be prepared to study! Throw yourself into it and you will really gain so much more. NTU offer incredible practical opportunities and has a great applied approach to learning.
Which of your modules do you particularly enjoy and why?
In my first year I particularly enjoyed Construction. I love understanding the fundamentals of buildings and how / why things work. The staff were fantastic (Antony and Chris), and I thoroughly enjoyed the two assignments. It sounds strange to say I enjoyed assignments, but I felt my passion was displayed in my research and presentation. This year I am really enjoying Contract Administration and Structural Appraisal. Structural Appraisal has been difficult to wrap my head around at points, but the staff are always on hand to help. But by far, my favourite module has been the design module, which is a double module in your second year. It’s a combination of practical and theory work and the assignments are fantastic.
Sum it up for us: what do like most about your course?
Building Surveying is such a varied subject, with so many potential routes to go down and so many exciting things to learn that you aren't ever bored. You are constantly learning new and challenging things. Particularly in your second year you really can see how far you have come in terms of knowledge, which is very satisfying.
What do you like about studying and living in Nottingham?
I have a family at home (two young children and a husband), and own two houses in Nottingham, so location was very important to me. I love the transport links and convenience of the trams.
What’s it like being a student at NTU? Do you feel that there is a student community in your School?
Being a student at NTU is great. It can be worrying at first, particularly if you feel like a bit of an outsider for whatever reason (I am 24 years old, so older than your typical student, and have children) but before you know it you settle in. Thanks to help from the cert mentors and staff and it feels like home.
What do you hope to achieve after completing your degree?
I am aiming to become a RICS chartered surveyor by completing my APC. I still don't know if I want to go down commercial, historical, residential or project management routes, but I'm hoping my placement will make things a bit clearer.