Ambassador Spotlight ‘Michael Day’

Welcome to Michael Day who’s from Suffolk in the UK! Let’s learn a bit more about him:
Where did you study? After graduating with a BSc in Geography from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (where we did a bit of levelling etc), I took a year out and went selling wetsuits and surfboards for a good friend of mine.  I then studied for my MSc in Surveying and Land/Environmental Management at Camborne School of Mines which had recently been brought under the University of Exeter umbrella.  I graduated in 2005 and along with 4 others, 4 of which are still ‘surveyors’, the other went off to design sewers!  My fellow surveyor and friend, Angela went off to Australia and spent many years surveying some of the biggest mines (holes!) in the world.   The course continues to produce many graduates who go into various survey related fields; as land or building surveyors, sales executives or teachers.  The course is both RICS and CICES accredited, plus it’s in Cornwall, my homeland!

What are the requirements to be a surveyor in your area? Surveyors are in demand in my area, driven in part by the buoyant construction market. Over the coming decades my region will probably witness one of the largest construction projects the country, Sizwell C power station, plus a number of large critical infrastructure projects relating to renewable energy.  As a company we are hoping to continue to be part of those developments and will need maintain a well-trained workforce.  We pride ourselves on our inclusivity and offer opportunities for school leavers through to highly trained post-graduates.  I am really thrilled to see more females joining us; we have an accomplished female drone surveyor and highly-trained hydrographic surveyor to cite just a few.  It is equally fantastic that we now have two ex-RAF veterans in our team – one of which hopes to become our drone surveyor.  If you have a skill or a passion to map our world then there is more than likely a place for you with us.
How did you get into surveying? I have always loved the outdoors and geography was by far my favourite subject at school, but my first foray into the world of surveying was when I was 15 and did two weeks work experience with a local survey practice.  I loved it, even though the days were long and the weather inclement (this was in Cornwall so it rained a lot!).  I impressed the company and was offered an apprenticeship.  I decided to decline as I really wanted to do my A levels, particularly geography.  It wasn’t until I graduated from Aberystwyth and my tutor mentioned Camborne School of Mines that I stumbled upon the survey course.  The fact that I got to do some land and environment stuff sealed the deal!  About six months after being awarded an MSc, I joined Merrett Survey Ltd and worked with some amazing people and travelled far and wide.
How long have you been in the industry? I have been in the industry for about 16 years.  I did go off for a bit and run my own gardening business but came back into surveying earlier this year.  I am much better at tree identification now!
Are you part of any associations or organisations you would like us to mention? Yes, I am a GCInstCES, working towards full membership.  I am also a member of the British Cartographic Society.  Later in the year I hope to join the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).  As a company we are full member of The Survey Association (TSA).  Once I am full CICES member, I would like to become a Chartered Surveyor with RICS as I aspire to specialise in boundary issues.
Why do you want to be a GKiS Brand Ambassador? I am a passionate and motivated mentor within the geospatial industry; I have a degree in geography and post-grad in surveying and have a career spanning 16 years. I work for Survey Solutions, one of the UK’s largest providers of geospatial engineering services and I am currently working towards full membership of CICES. I am also a full member of the British Cartographic Soc. and I am keen to join the Royal Geographical Soc. I have trained and mentored many young surveyors over the years; I both and enjoy it and have had good feedback from those I have helped. Since attending Geo Business 2022 I have become inspired by how diverse and inclusive my industry has become and I would love to help give young people an insight into what a career in survey is like and where you can take it. I have worked for number or companies, in various environments and different countries. I have a fantastic network of brilliant surveyors I can call upon; one of which may be interested in becoming an ambassador too – he is currently a drone surveyor with Sky Revolutions. I would love to bring my skills and expertise into the project as I think it’s great – quite simply what I am looking for to broaden my life experience.
Why is it important for kids to know about surveying and the wider geospatial industry? I believe geospatial skills are a life skill and must be taught widely in schools.  Surveying is a diverse job and no two days are same.  It is open to anyone with a passion to measure things with cool technology and offer a balance of fieldwork and office work, often using very clever software.  You will be part of a team, often working alongside other professionals such as civil engineers, architects as well as flood modellers and ecologists.  This could be anywhere in the world, surveying from the air or mapping mines underground!
What are you going to do as an ambassador for GKiS? I would love to show young people how amazing surveying is and how we do it. I worry that kids today may grow up without the basic, and potentially, life-saving skill of map reading. Geography and surveying can literally take you anywhere and I have first hand knowledge of some amazing projects I could show the children. As a company we have a great HR team and offices throughout the UK.  I am sure once some I of my colleagues will see what I am doing and how much fun it is they will surely jump at the chance of joining as an ambassador?
What are your hobbies? I love cycling, well anything with two-wheels really.  I am hoping to do my motorcycle test soon.  I love music and try to play a bit of guitar when I get the chance.  I am happiest when I am outdoors, so walking, gardening and golf, if you can call it that!, are things I like to do too.
If you/your company had a GKiS character, what would it be? I am not then most creative person but for my surveying involves a lot of problem solving so I’d go for Super Resolver – a character with infinite ingenuity!  Like a modernised Inspector Gadget crossed with Banana Man…is it too obvious I grew up in the 80s?!
What poster or resource would you like to see next from GKiS? The posters are great.  The only thing I can think of is maybe something inland hydrographic?
Anything else you want to add that you think our audience (surveyors, teachers, parents) would be interested in? I am sure I can negotiate bringing along various bits of kit and possibly someone from HR (they do careers fares all the time) to make a really impression of the industry to the young people.