Nthabiseng Motlatle is the Chairperson of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyor’s (ASAQs’) Wits Student Chapter. She is studying towards her degree in BSc Construction Management and works as a Student Quantity Surveyor at the multinational Turner & Townsend’s Illovo office, which she says is her biggest opportunity yet.
Motlatle leads a team of tutors at the ASAQS Wits Student Chapter who assist students with tough Quantity Surveying subjects and modules. Throughout the year, they create polls to find out which subjects are pain points for students and tutors who excelled in those subjects are then paired with the students accordingly. The tutors are mostly senior and final year students who can include the time spent tutoring as part of their practical experience hours, which needs to be submitted as a requirement to pass each year of study at the University’s School of Construction, Economics and Management. The tutors source exercises and past exam papers, which they then work through alongside students.
The ASAQS Wits Student Chapter uses social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to keep group members updated about speaking engagements and events, to great success. They also research news and trends that impact the built environment to ensure that their teachings are relevant and up-to-date with what professional Quantity Surveyors need to know.
Motlale says that helping students pass gives her a sense of relief. Knowing how easy it is to pass the subjects when the information is conveyed in a way that resonates with a student is rewarding because she knows the time and financial costs of repeating subjects are high.
Motlale grew up in a family of four in Meredale, Johannesburg, and was fascinated with buildings and the construction process from a young age. Her affinity for problem-solving and determination to pursue a career in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) led her to become a Quantity Surveyor. Her goal is to drive transformation and change in the industry. The person who has impressed her the most is the late founder of the Motheo Construction Group, businesswoman and philanthropist, Dr Thandi Ndlovu, and she wants her own legacy to include having changed the built environment for the better.
Motlale predicts that the environmental impact of rapid urbanisation will lead to more stringent green building legislation in the future and that technology, among other disruptors, will lead built environment professionals to become increasingly specialised.
She recently presented at the annual ASAQS Conference and Gala Dinner, where she gave members and attendees insights on the current quality of education. She told attendees that Quantity Surveying students often struggle to find vacation work and that the support that the Wits Students Chapter needs is in the form of mentorship and training through practical work experience. Her advice to young women who want to advance in the field of quantity surveying is to not feel threatened because it’s a male-dominated field – the opportunities are endless – and to stay true to who they are because the profession requires highly ethical professionals.