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News & opinion

24 NOV 2022

Jane Iwanicki MRICS, Director and Crown Mineral Agent at Wardell Armstrong

Meet Jane Iwanicki MRICS, Director and Crown Mineral Agent at Wardell Armstrong. We caught up with Jane to talk about the lesser-known area of mineral surveying, her experience of working in a male-dominated field and the importance of storytelling.

Learn more about Jane’s career path and insights on how to create a more diverse and inclusive profession via our Q&A below.

The work of a mineral surveyor can be a bit of a mystery to those outside the profession and I think it is important that we tell the stories behind projects in a straightforward and authentic manner, as well as conveying all the facts and technical data that clients require.

1. Tell us about your professional career so far

I’ve been lucky to work across the whole of the UK and to experience many different aspects of the minerals industry. As Crown Mineral Agent I get involved with everything from borrow pits to gold mines. Working in consultancy brings me into contact with a wide variety of clients and stakeholders; I love the collaborative environment that I work in and the fact that every day can bring something new.   

2. What attracted you to surveying/built environment as an industry to work in?

My interest in geology and the great outdoors led me to mineral surveying. It was not something I’d really heard about until a career adviser pointed me in the direction of the surveying profession and the RICS. At that time, there was a choice of undergraduate courses in mineral surveying — something we are now sadly lacking. The course content and structured professional route appealed to me, and I saw the opportunity for a good balance between desk and site work. The concept of minerals as a property asset was entirely new to me but an introduction to topics such valuation and land law quickly got me interested in the commercial as well as the technical side of minerals development.

3. How do you make an impact in your daily work?  

As Service Director I get to work with teams in each of our offices. Like most surveyors I am a people person and I enjoy getting to know the individuals and supporting them in their career paths.  The work of a mineral surveyor can be a bit of a mystery to those outside the profession and I think it is important that we tell the stories behind projects in a straightforward and authentic manner, as well as conveying all the facts and technical data that clients require.

4. Have you seen positive changes in terms of women's representation in the industry over the past years? 

I certainly see more women and greater representation at senior and leadership level across the business areas and clients that Wardell Armstrong serves. However, the UK minerals sector continues to lack diversity and women are still underrepresented across the industry. I have received tremendous support and encouragement during my career from male colleagues and associates, but I continue to find myself in the minority. There are lots of positive messages coming from the industry in support of diversity, but we still fail to attract women into mineral surveying.

5. What more can be done to create a diverse and inclusive profession?

It is worth saying that it is difficult to attract any new entrants into the mineral surveying profession in the absence of undergraduate courses, but I understand that a small specialist profession is not very attractive to the academic institutions. We must look elsewhere for talent, and I think the RICS needs to engage more effectively with courses that can offer an alternative entry route such as geology or other earth sciences. I think the apprenticeship route will also prove helpful in attracting new talent from different backgrounds. We need new people with fresh ideas and different perspectives, and I think the RICS could do more to co-ordinate efforts by its members.

6. What advice would you give to the next generation of female surveyors?

View challenges as opportunities and don’t expect to be perfect at everything. Be yourself and don’t be fearful of highlighting your skills, strengths, and value to those who can help shape your career.