By Hazel Davis, editor at BMTA
For decades, the surveying industry has struggled with a lack of new talent entering the profession. This has resulted in a dominance of white males with an average age of 55, leaving the future of surveying uncertain. The so-called anti-maths mindset, identified by the Prime Minister recently in his plans for further maths in schools, has meant that essential metrology skills are being left by the wayside.
But two Yorkshire-based sisters, Elaine and Elly Ball, have set out to change that. In 2017, they launched Get Kids into Survey, a project aimed at introducing and educating the younger generation about the exciting world of Surveying.
The goal of the project is to create a new generation of surveyors responsible for protecting and improving the world. The sisters hope to inspire and educate children about the many exciting career options available within the geospatial industry, and to help parents and teachers understand what surveying is and talk about it with their children. The reason? Well if we don’t educate children about surveying and its impact on the world now, the industry may die out.
To help address the recruitment issue, Get Kids into Survey launched The GeoSquad Comic, a 40-page Comic Book designed to appeal to children aged 8-12 in a fun and action- packed way. Created in collaboration with primary school teacher and children’s book author, Mat Sullivan and creative illustrator Marek Jagucki, the comic introduces a group of four friends, Maddison, Setsuko, Kwame, and Miles, who visit a career fair and enter a virtual reality world. They learn about the importance of surveying and how surveyors are the heroes of the future, putting the world back together.
Since its inception, Get Kids into Survey has expanded to include an online hub of free resources with lesson plans, quizzes, and colouring sheets, ‘SurveyFest’ events, an Education Fund to support ambassadors and school visits, and an educational comic strip. The project has been hugely successful at engaging young people and is currently the only targeted education programme for primary school children and under-12s highlighting the opportunities and exciting careers that the geospatial industry can offer for their future.
The educational resources highlight incredible achievements and milestones through history that wouldn’t have been possible without surveying. From the Egyptian pyramids to space exploration, Stonehenge to the finding of the Titanic, the study of volcanoes to the discovery of lost cities.
Co-founder Elaine Ball is passionate about the importance of surveying and the need to inspire the next generation of surveyors. She says, “If surveying as a profession becomes extinct, the world really is in trouble. Survey and geospatial underpins so much of the planet’s infrastructure, so it’s vital we inspire, educate and attract the next generation of surveyors now. It’s always shocked me that the younger generation don’t get to see how exciting the world of geospatial and survey can be.”
With more than 120 ambassadors across the world, Get Kids into Survey is now looking to expand further by inviting franchise owners to deliver the key learnings and messages in their regional territories and inspire young minds on a personal and local level.