A monthly exploration into the world of sustainability in the built environment with commentary and input from UCEM’s Vice Chancellor and academics.
Annabel Huffer – 2023 Winners
Posted on: 10 February, 2023
Building Surveyor, Eddisons
Annabel is in her fourth year of her degree apprenticeship, and plans to sit the RICS APC at the end of the year. Her father is a Chartered Surveyor and Fellow of the RICS, which kick-started Annabel’s interest in the built environment.
When she finished her A-levels, Annabel decided to explore her options beyond the traditional university route. After two ski seasons and a 6-month stint as an estate agent, she joined Daniells Harrison Chartered Surveyors, now Eddisons, as their first Apprentice Building Surveyor, beginning her journey to becoming a chartered surveyor.
Annabel was already familiar with UCEM, having explored the university when she was 16 to get a feel for what they offered. She feels the distance learning aspect is “a huge plus” because “all the studying is done online, which is very flexible and you can be anywhere”.
Studying online is balanced out with office work and plenty of on-site visits with Eddisons, including a memorable survey of a building that had been inhabited by pigeons for 25 years! Annabel is intrigued by historic buildings, such as churches, and how existing buildings can be made more sustainable.
The combination of studying at UCEM and working in the sector has “accelerated” Annabel’s knowledge and expertise. “I’ve learned so much from the University”, she says, “alongside learning so much at work that I can then apply to the university modules as well. I would highly recommend it to anyone because the way it ties in together has been exceptional”.
As a RICS Inspire Ambassador, Annabel actively advocates for young people’s place in the industry. She points out that a more diverse workforce, coupled with the existing knowledge of experienced surveyors, can only be a good thing for the industry. Young people, she says, bring fresh ideas and are more receptive to using new technology to increase efficiency. Annabel herself recently became Eddisons’ only GVC certified drone pilot, enabling the company to offer a new service.
She is also conscious of the male-dominated nature of surveying, and is keen to encourage more women into the sector:
“I think as a woman, you have to make waves! Some building sites only have male workers, with lots of experience, and they don’t necessarily want to listen to a young lady who’s an apprentice. But actually, we can offer perspectives that men can’t necessarily and vice versa. And I think having that diversity is really important.”
Annabel was UCEM’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’ and ‘Principals Choice’ at UCEM’s Built Environment Apprenticeship Awards 2023, having been nominated by both a junior and senior colleague.