SCE academics set out UWL approach to enhanced work shadowing in prestige journal

What is enhanced work shadowing, and how can it better prepare building surveying students for a career in the industry? Those questions are answered in an extended feature in the current issue of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors journal, written by two academics from the School of Computing and Engineering, explaining how University of West London (UWL) students are benefiting from the School’s pioneering approach.

Professor Joseph Rizzuto, Head of Engineering and Built Environment, and Indira Chauhan, Course Leader for Building Surveying, explain in the feature how the offer at UWL goes a step further than the work shadowing often offered elsewhere:

'Work shadowing is frequently used as a term for comparatively informal, unpaid work experience for school leavers that takes place over a short period, generally just a few days. By way of contrast, the enhanced work shadowing that students undertake as part of the BSc (Hons) Building Surveying course at UWL provides them with early and lengthier exposure to the practice of identifying the likely causes of building defects.'

Likening the method to a medical student following tutors on their rounds, building surveying students shadowing experienced professionals are more likely to develop the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required for the industry. Observational study in real-life scenarios, which connect to learning outcomes and assessments, also provide relevant insight and meaning for the student.

In a recent survey, students on the BSc(Hons) course confirmed their eagerness to acquire experience through intense shadowing as a valuable means of getting a clearer picture of what was expected of them when they enter the profession.

Joseph Rizzuto and Indira Chauhan conclude: 'Integrating enhanced work shadowing and problem-based learning in the building surveying course is a priority in curriculum development at UWL. This enables students to emerge as skilled, confident and work-ready graduates.

Read the full article in RICS Building Surveying Journal here (p 24 – 25).

People in high-vis jackets checking a wall
A UWL student work shadowing a building surveyor carrying out a wall defects appraisal