For many people who consider themselves to be stuck in dead-end jobs, the prospect of finding a brand new career is an extremely appealing but often daunting thought. The dream of finding a more engaging and challenging job can be quickly broken by buzz words such as ‘pay cut', ‘retraining' and ‘economic downturn'.

Many industries, however, continue to offer safe and speedy passage for people in transitional stages looking for that better career fit. Quantity Surveying is one such profession that offers a broad spectrum of opportunities.

Victoria SmithBut what does a Quantity Surveyor do and why would people wish to make the move? The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) broadly defines the remit of a Quantity Surveyor as measuring, valuing, protecting and enhancing the world's physical assets. The profession can be found in three main sectors, namely the built environment, land and property. Today's surveyors, therefore, can be found engaging in projects as varied as creating the latest Olympic stadium, to protecting fragile reefs from destruction to negotiating the next big property deal.

While retraining is an unavoidable reality for anyone looking to make a considerable change to their career path, it can often be simpler and quicker than originally thought. Robert Gordon University currently offers a Postgraduate conversion course in Quantity Surveying that is proving increasingly popular with people hailing from a range of academic and career directions.

The Graduate Diploma in Surveying is a fast track route to a professional qualification and a career in quantity surveying. The full time course gives students the opportunity to exit with either a non-professionally accredited Graduate Certificate in Surveying after 8 modules or an accredited Graduate Diploma in Surveying after 12 modules.

As an officially RICS accredited postgraduate programme, the Diploma enables students to gain employment as Graduate Quantity Surveyors, who are eligible to progress towards professional Chartered status through the RICS programme.

Robert Gordon University graduate, Victoria Smith (28), completed the Graduate Diploma in 2009 after deciding to make the move away from her previous career in project administration. Prior to commencing the course, she worked within the Contracts Management department at London Fire Brigade as a project assistant and then as an operation associate at an Investment Capital company.

Victoria, who is from Portsmouth originally, describes her motivation for seeking a career change to Surveying: "I felt under-challenged at work and wanted to find a role that would be more interesting and challenging. Similarly, following my experience at the Fire Brigade I wanted to follow more project based work.

"Also, at the time I decided to embark on the course, I was living in London, and there was nothing similar on offer in England. The fact that the course is funded by the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) was a huge factor in my opting for the Graduate Diploma in Surveying at Robert Gordon University."

As a European Studies and Spanish graduate, Victoria did not have a background in Surveying or the Built Environment. "I was a little apprehensive before starting the course but thankfully it is geared towards people with unrelated undergraduate degrees," she explains. "I found that I was able to apply my prior experiences at university and also in the workplace to approach the new discipline in an organic way."

Victoria now works as a graduate Quantity Surveyor at Rider Hunt International Group (RHi) - a leading global provider of project controls services to the energy, power and process industries. At present, she is working, together with another graduate from her year, Fraser Leith, as part of the RHi team seconded to a major oil and gas project in London.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying my new career", concludes Victoria. "I would definitely recommend it to others who are interested in pursuing a career in Quantity Surveying. I feel that the course gave me a firm grounding in all aspects of Quantity Surveying from a construction perspective, with much of it transferrable to the oil and gas sector which is where I find myself today."

Elizabeth Robertson, Operations Manager for the RHi Group Aberdeen Office comments, "RHi has a long association with the University, with many of our current employees having attained their qualifications there. The addition of the Post Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying provides a further source of QS graduates who have already had some experience of the work environment."

If interested in finding out more about a career in Quantity Surveying and the numerous jobs a related degree can lead to, visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.

For further information on the Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying at Robert Gordon University contact postgraduateadmissions@rgu.ac.uk.