Categories: SA Valuer Blog1096 words4.2 min read

Youth Month | Robyn Jackson


June 30, 2022


To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study after high school.  My go-to was accounting, until I job shadowed an accountant who said it would be numbers for the rest of my life. Least to say it put me off completely and left me stranded as to a career path for the future.  At the end of high school, I literally sat with all the institution’s prospectus guides, checked my marks (as only an average student) and assessed what I could apply for.

At the time, UCT had a fairly newish program in the Engineering Faculty called “The Built Environment Program” made up of Property Studies and Construction Studies.  Both seemed appealing as they covered an array of topics- marketing, accounting, statistics, law etc and it seemed to be an all-rounder. If I didn’t like the course I could always change over as it touched on so many subjects.

Safe to say I got into the Property Studies program.  The first year was confusing because it was so broad and covered a vast array of property subjects from law to finance to drawings.  I still felt unsure as to what exactly I would be doing.

During my studies, I recall a presentation done by Ali-Su Greybe-Smith, who appealed as a young, go-getter lady, who I think at the time was on the Nedbank Graduate Program and SAIV.  This was my first-time hearing about the SAIV. I was further awarded a bursary with the City of Cape Town and was put in contact with Dean Ward and Farell October. Being part of the bursary program, two students and I were sponsored to attend a two-day SAIV seminar.  It was out at a game farm on the west coast, and this was my first experience of the valuation profession.  There were various informative segments, but the one that stood out the most was the agricultural segment by Pine Pienaar and the detail he went into just blew my mind. – This was something that peaked my interest and what I could see myself loving as a job.  Not only was the seminar informative, but I also couldn’t believe I was sitting in a room of professionals, experts in their field and yet they were so down to earth and made us, students, feel so welcome.  The atmosphere at the event was so relaxed and the valuers all seemed so happy to be there.  A valuer we met at our table (Jill Coetzee), who didn’t know us from a bar of soap, offered to give us a lift to the seminar the next day, knowing we had paid for transport going through.  I just thought these were a genuine group of professionals who I wanted to be a part of.

From then on, I had direction for my career, I would complete my honours, write my board exam and become a Professional Valuer.  This helped me stay focused in my studies, having a goal to reach.

After my honours, work wasn’t guaranteed, and I wasn’t too sure where to look in my new chosen profession. Myself and the other three bursary students literally had to fight to get an opportunity to work at the City of Cape Town and we were offered a 6-month contract. During this time, we were mentored by the late Emil Weichardt.  We didn’t get to sit with the valuers, we were placed with the data collectors and admin staff and did all the groundwork kind of stuff (14th floor staff gave us good foundation). I tried to do as much as I could to get work experience in those short months, being a valuer-in-training. Emil advised me of a small company looking for a candidate valuer and that the owner was a legend in the valuation profession – the legend had come up with the methodology to value airports! This would clearly be my opportunity to work with the best

Uncertain of the future of our employment after the 6-month period, I went for the interview at Appraisal Corporation.  A very different feel to the large scale, corporate building I knew from the City, Appraisal’s office was a small, quaint house on Kloof Street.  The interview went well, and I was offered the position.  I didn’t feel equipped to work at the firm and I had just gotten comfortable at the City and how they worked. Also against the decision, the salary at Appraisal was not fixed, a concern many students, I think may fear, or put too much weight on.  Even though the City wasn’t a guarantee after our 6-months, it felt like a safer option to wait for.  On this fear, I decided to decline the job at Appraisal and wrote a note to say thank you for considering me and if my time at the City was to be cut short, I would gladly do shadow work for the firm, for free, just to gain the experience from working with the best of the best, as I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Plot twist, Jenny Falck from Appraisal Corporation called me up to have a cup of coffee, explained her love for the profession and THANKFULLY convinced me to come work at Appraisal.  The cherry on top – the legend himself, Saul du Toit, became my Mentor (along with the rest of the valuers at the Appraisal Team)

As a young valuer, attending the SAIV seminars put me in touch with so many seasoned professionals and other young professionals who all aided me on my career path and truly made the profession feel like a community

-2014: Graduated BSc Property Study Hons.

-2015: Completed the Workschool with highest marks

-2018: Wrote and passed my PAV with a residential restriction (too much specialised and commercial valuations, so lacked residential points on matrix, Hehe)

-2018: Nominated for Southern Branch in March

-2021: Wrote and passed my PV with no restriction

-2021: Southern Branch Vice Chair and Natex representative

-2022: Southern Branch Chairperson and Natex representative

-Currently, SUPER PROUD to be part of this GREAT PROFESSION and to be called a SAIV PROPERTY VALUER

Reality check, these are obviously just the highlights of my career journey, but they do outshine and make the in-between and not so great times worthwhile.  Careers can be scary to follow. They do require hard work, sacrifice and dedication, but a career is more fulfilling than a job can ever be – Strive to do YOUR BEST in everything you do.