TSA Conference 2023 shoots for the stars

Published: 29 Nov 2023

We held our sixth conference on 8th November, returning once again to the British Motor Museum near Warwick. The Sky Suite was at capacity, as TSA members and invited guests attended this full-day conference with a special keynote speaker, Major Tim Peake CMG.

Encouraging the next generation

The conference was the culmination of around six months work, with the Secretariat and Council planning and fine tuning a day to bring maximum benefit to members and the greatest exposure of TSA to a wider audience. It was also an opportunity to continue and expand the conversation about how to encourage more young people into the profession. As part of this, 10 DEC! students from nearby Stratford upon Avon School were invited to attend the conference and fully engage with the programme.

Tim Peake wowed the audience with sights and stories from space, addressing relatable topics such as understanding of risk, the significance of science, technology, pioneering, STEM and the importance of engaging the next generation.

Following that presentation, the delegates were given a real-life example of how easily and effectively they can start engaging with young people.

Engaging with young people

Polly Hopkins and Caitlin Tonge from Storm Geomatics explained how they took a simple suggestion at TSA’s AGM earlier in the year and started engaging with their local scout group.  TSA’s Scouts Initiative is still in its formative stages but is a programme that can easily be  adapted and rolled out to any group of young people. As Caitlin, who is also a Scout leader,  so powerfully said, “Scouts are almost halfway to being surveyors anyway!”

The extended lunch break then allowed members to eat, catch up with colleagues and network with new contacts. There was also the opportunity to visit the museum’s display of wonderful cars before the afternoon session.

Diversity and Inclusion

Another important topic for the profession is that of diversity and inclusion. Simon Navin, EDI chair at Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES) and geospatial services lead at Jacobs launched the afternoon session with an update on the work of CICES’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Council. The presentation looked at challenging the unconscious bias in everything and also shining a light on how the accuracy of data can suffer from all kinds of inequality and exclude sections of society.

To wrap up the conference, Lucy Powers, director at Powers and co-chair of the apprenticeship trailblazer group brought the conversation back around to addressing the skills gap. She provided an overview of the continued development of the Level 3 Geospatial Technician Apprenticeship. Having been recently revised and overhauled, with a new Geospatial qualification now being mandated along with it providing UCAS points, the apprenticeship is now in a much better position.

Commented Rachel Tyrrell, TSA Secretary General:

“TSA takes collaboration seriously and it was great to see such a wide selection of our full members and supplier members, along with the students and our CICES friends with us, as guests for the day.

“With the remit of the surveying profession changing all the time, our president, Nick Hampson, started our TSA conference 2023 with a question, ‘What is our profession called?’ It was interesting to see that the poll revealed that the most popular term was still ‘land surveying’ – even if ‘magician’ was my rogue favourite. Feedback from the delegates was extremely encouraging and we are already in advanced planning for the AGM in March 2024.”

Feedback on the conference

As always, members were formally asked for feedback on the day, and it has been very positive:

“First class day and exactly what is needed to engage members and get them galvanised!”

“I don’t think I’ve ever attended an event with such an engaged Q&A session following the keynote”

“Best TSA Conference ever?”

“My first event and excellent to meet loads of new people!”

Key learnings from the TSA conference 2023

The power of collaboration: the sharing of best practice is such an important element of what TSA facilitates and the engagement that took place throughout the day was phenomenal.

Scouts Initiative: This is an easy, high impact way of reaching more young people and encouraging them to think about surveying as a career.

Apprenticeships: We need the support of employers, colleges and the whole surveying profession to provide a clear qualification pathway for young people.

The future: TSA thrives on member engagement and involvement, remaining rooted in the original aims of the association but always seeking to improve, elevate and inspire. To use Tim’s favourite Latin phrase, Ad Astra, TSA continues to aim high – ‘to the stars’.

Check out the full video from the conference here.

To find out more about the benefits of TSA membership and how it helps our members build a better business, go to https://www.tsa-uk.org.uk/membership/.