Vuyolwethu Badi, a seasoned Professional Quantity Surveyor with over 16 years of experience in the South African Built Environment, is making a significant impact in the industry.  As a Director and Shareholder at RLB, a prominent global cost consultancy firm, her journey to success has been marked by determination, resilience, and a deep-rooted desire to uplift her community.

A Serendipitous Meeting with her Future Career

Born and raised in rural Middledrift in the Eastern Cape, Vuyolwethu’s upbringing in a conservative family laid the foundation for the person she is today. Her late mother, a teacher, and her father, a former politician and businessman, instilled in her the values of love, discipline, and nurturing. Despite her modest background, Vuyolwethu’s drive and curiosity led her on an unexpected path towards quantity surveying.

“I first went to a local school, but in Grade 3, I identified Adelaide Gymnasium school as my preferred choice,” she recalls. “I saw the girls from that school in their smart blazers and ties, and I wanted to dress like them. It connected me to the ‘big wide world’.”

She then stumbled upon the industry by accident, she explains. “I approached a man who was measuring up the school’s hostels for renovations and inquired about his work. That’s when I discovered what quantity surveyors do. At that time, I was struggling to decide on a career, and I became convinced that quantity surveying would enable me to give back to my poor community.”

Vuyolwethu’s journey to becoming a registered quantity surveyor involved hard work and perseverance. She completed her BTech degree in 2007 and joined RLB in 2014, where she made an immediate impression with her strong work ethic. By 2016, she had completed all the Professional Skills Modules prescribed by the South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) and became a registered Professional Quantity Surveyor. Remarkably, she achieved her goal of becoming a director at the age of 33, ahead of her initial target of 35.

She vividly remembers the early days when she struggled to secure an internship, but her boldness and determination prevailed. “In mid-February of the year, I should have started my internship, but I was still looking for a job. I walked into the Department of Public Works in Pretoria and asked to speak to someone about the quantity surveyors they worked with. I had to fend for myself without the support networks available to young women today,” she shares.

Giving back and moving forward

Vuyolwethu says her involvement with ASAQS has been instrumental in her career development. Since 2016, she has proudly maintained her professional membership and briefly served on the ASAQS Gauteng Chapter from October 2022 to May 2023.

“What I appreciate most about my membership with ASAQS has been the organization’s steadfast commitment to providing high-quality, continued professional development training. Through various training modules and webinars, I have had the opportunity to stay abreast of industry trends and gain a deeper understanding of the quantity surveying profession,” she affirms.

As an experienced quantity surveyor, Vuyolwethu offers valuable advice to youngsters considering a career in the industry.  “To truly excel and thrive in this challenging professional landscape, it is essential for youngsters to prioritize professionalism above all else,” she asserts. “They should approach every task with focus, integrity, and high standards of work ethics while continuously seeking personal growth through acquiring new skills and expanding their knowledge.”

Beyond her professional achievements, Vuyolwethu finds joy in travelling and cherishing moments with her family. “When I’m not engrossed in work, my mind is consumed by planning my next thrilling adventure. Exploring new destinations and creating unforgettable memories is my ultimate passion.”

With her remarkable achievements and unwavering spirit, Vuyolwethu is paving the way for future generations and leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

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