Meet a Trainee Licensed Surveyor

Briallen Frisken

Briallen was the kind of student who hated being stuck at a desk inside the classroom all day. So when she discovered surveying with its mix of indoor and outdoor work, Frisken jumped at the chance to explore this diverse field.  

WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN SURVEYING?
I really like working outside and I’m not too good at sitting still, but I also like the variety and surveying kind of appealed to me, with working inside and outside and in different places, so that was pretty much what really got me involved.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DID YOU HAVE TO DO FOR THE ROLE?
I went to Melbourne University and I did the Bachelor of Environments, and I then did a Masters of Engineering. But you can also do the four-year RMIT surveying course.

WHAT WOULD A TYPICAL DAY AT WORK INVOLVE FOR YOU?
It depends whether I’m in the field or the office. A normal office day, I might be doing some calculations and reducing all of the data that I’ve gathered in the field, or maybe drawing up a plan, maybe if it’s a feature plan, that’s a bit more creative, a bit more drawing. In a field day I would normally be outside, a different place every day, just taking measurements and making sure that everything adds up.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I really like the variety. Getting a bit of outside and inside, doing some maths, doing some creative stuff, getting to talk to different people about things and getting to give advice. It’s really variable every day, like every day I’m doing a different thing. It’s really lovely.

WHAT WOULD BE ONE OF THE MORE CHALLENGING PARTS OF YOUR ROLE?
I think it’s quite like a puzzle a lot of the time, so sometimes things don’t add up or things don’t go how you would like them to go, so you kind of have to think outside the square and think logically and really think it through in a logical puzzle kind of way, which I think is quite challenging sometimes.

WHAT SORT OF SKILLS OR ATTRIBUTES DO YOU THINK ARE IMPORTANT FOR SURVEYING?
A solid maths base is always important and also attention to detail is really important. So you really have to pay attention to the small differences, you’re looking at sub-centimeter and millimeter differences so you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing.

WHAT WOULD A TYPICAL STARTING SALARY BE IN THE FIELD?
It depends on whether you went to RMIT…Mostly because you have to do placement during RMIT, so a lot of RMIT students have already done assisting-type roles throughout uni and so have kind of done a few years work. But I started on around $50,000.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE STUDENT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE JOB?
I guess regards to salary there is definitely a large increase in the first few years because you do a lot of training, you start as an assistant then you become a party leader and so you’re taking control of your own job from start to finish.
And then there’s something called the professional training agreement which you go into to become licensed, which means you can sign plans, so it kind of doesn’t stop at uni, there’s constant improvements along the way which is good too.