Shae Lightwood-Morris – Quantity Surveyor

I first attended Saint Kentigern College in 2009, before leaving the college to sail around the world with my family where I was exposed to many unique and life-shaping experiences. In 2012, I made the decision to return to the College and become a boarder at Bruce House, while completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma, as my family continued their sailing adventure. I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I left college so I decided on taking a gap year, travelling Europe and eventually working and living on Hamilton Island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Throughout my travels, I met a series of interesting people working as Quantity Surveyors, an occupation I was unaware of when I left school. The more I looked into Quantity Surveying, the more intrigued I became. Quantity Surveying, in a construction sense, is the cost management of construction projects.

I made the decision to study a Bachelor of Construction, majoring in Quantity Surveying at Massey University, a three year degree course incorporating construction, general commerce and business management aspects to Quantity Surveying. In fact, the Bachelor of Construction includes many of the same papers as the first and second year Bachelor of Commerce degree. I had always enjoyed business studies but had not been interested in becoming ‘another commerce student’, as for the construction, this was a stab in the dark and something I had no previous experience with! 

As it turns out, studying Quantity Surveying was generally a male dominated degree, which is also evident in the industry. The Bachelor of Construction course is designed to allow students to gain industry experience while studying full time. At the beginning of my second year, I was offered a cadetship at Watts & Hughes Limited, a main contractor for commercial construction projects throughout New Zealand. I began working full time with Watts & Hughes while studying full time. This was ideal as I was able to gain first hand industry knowledge alongside experienced Quantity Surveyors, complete my degree, get paid and have my university tuition covered! 

I am now 21, have completed my degree and continued my position with Watts & Hughes Limited where I have two years experience behind me and am starting take on greater responsibility, although I still have years of learning ahead of me. I spend time on site, in the office and work in teams alongside construction and project managers, engineers, architects and clients. I am starting the process of becoming a registered Quantity Surveyor, which is recognised internationally. Being a Quantity Surveyor isn’t only limited to the traditional ‘on site’ contractors construction, you can work on projects representing banks and clients to assist with niche construction cost management. I would recommend this career path to anyone looking for something a little bit different, in an ever changing and fast paced industry.