In the United Kingdom, 85% of surveyors have stated they are experiencing problems recruiting due to the lack of qualified applicants, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The U.S. is seeing similar struggles: the number of surveyors decreased from 56,200 to 47,770 between 2010 and 2020, representing a decline of 14.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Founded in 2017 by Elaine Ball and Elly Ball, daughters of a surveyor, the Get Kids Into Survey program aims to educate and spark excitement in students about career paths in geospatial and survey. The curriculum has seen industry-wide support and has proven successful at engaging young people. As it continues to grow, Get Kids Into Survey is inviting wider support with franchises now available across the U.K., the U.S., and Canada.
“There are few — if any — geospatial programs offered in public schools today,” Keenan said. “Surveying is a critical career path, with professional surveyors required for everything from urban planning to infrastructure installation. Surveyors are needed for construction, forestry, mining, and so many other industries, and we have a shortage today that will only get worse as the number of projects increases.”
With educational resources, activities, posters, and comics that appeal to them at their level, Get Kids Into Survey is meant for children between the ages of 8-12 years old.
“The greatest challenge is that young people don’t even know this career path exists — even with the expansion of STEM programs. By introducing Get Kids Into Survey to our public school students, we have an opportunity to share with them new potential career paths — exciting roles that they never even knew existed," Keenan said. “I’m proud to be part of cultivating the next generation of surveyors and geospatial professionals.”
The materials offered by Get Kids Into Survey highlight examples of achievements and milestones through history that would not have been possible without surveying. Topics include the Egyptian pyramids, space exploration, Stonehenge, finding the Titanic, the study of volcanoes, the discovery of lost cities, and how these practices contributed to the development of computer games like Minecraft.
Currently, Get Kids Into Survey is the only targeted education program for elementary/primary school children highlighting the opportunities and careers that geospatial can offer for their future. With more than 160 ambassadors across the world, the next step is to bring on board franchise owners who can deliver the key learnings and messages in their regional territories and inspire young minds on a personal level.
“If surveying as a profession becomes extinct, the world really is in trouble," Elaine said. "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 doesn’t get to see how exciting the world of geospatial and survey can be.
"Since launching six years ago, we’ve had so much support within the survey and STEM industries for engaging young minds, and we’re excited to see it go one step further. We’re looking for other advocates of the STEM subjects, early education instructors, and those working in the survey profession around the world to take up the opportunity to teach Get Kids Into Survey in their country or region by becoming a franchisee or an ambassador and to help us save the future of surveying.”