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Robyn Catherwood, Graduate Quantity Surveyor, Atkins


Graduate Quantity Surveyor

Business area: Quantity Surveying
Years into GDP: 2
University and degree: Glasgow Caledonian University, MSc Quantity Surveying

Can you briefly describe your role and what you do?

I work within the Quantity Surveying team in the Edinburgh office of Faithful + Gould as a Graduate Quantity Surveyor. On a day-to-day basis, I assist the rest of the team in the delivery of a wide range of projects, from the cost plan for a new prison to the final account of student accommodation. A highlight of working at Faithful + Gould so far has been the level of responsibility I was given from my first week. I began working part-time at Faithful + Gould whilst finishing off my master’s degree, this level of responsibility gave me the opportunity to obtain a strong skillset quickly, greatly assisting in my Uni coursework.
Each day varies at Faithful + Gould, my projects are all at different stages, on a normal day I can be assisting the team in the creation of cost plans, analysing and drafting tender reports or agreeing valuations and final accounts with the contractors. I can occasionally be found on site conducting valuations or even chairing progress meetings as an Employer’s Agent. That is the great thing about being a Quantity Surveyor at Faithful+Gould, no day is the same, and I have learned so much over the course of the last couple of year, being involved in projects from the initial concept stages right the way through to completion.

Why did you choose Atkins?

I chose to apply to Atkins, specifically Faithful + Gould, due to their reputation, both in terms of client and employee opinion, with the Atkins group being one of the world’s leading project and programme management consultancies.
Faithful + Gould also appealed to me due to the variety of projects that the organisation is involved in. Starting out on my career I wanted to ensure that I would have the opportunity to maximise my knowledge of the profession by obtaining experience on a wide variety of projects, Faithful+Gould has definitely filled this criteria.
Faithful + Gould appealed to me due to the global opportunities. I love travelling and Faithful + Gould provides employees with the flexibility to spend some time in another part of the world.
Atkins supports volunteer days, allowing two days off each year to volunteer for a charity of your choice. Each year I volunteer for a charity which is particularly close to my heart, this benefit was therefore a particular selling point for me when I applied. Faithful+Gould value charity, I have been involved in raising money for various charities through sponsored events, taking part in Tough Mudder last year and running within a relay team at the end of this year as part of the Edinburgh Marathon.
The APC, the qualification needed to become a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, demonstrating expertise in cost management, was one of my main goals starting off in my career. The importance that an organisation placed on the APC was therefore of importance when I chose what companies to apply to. Faithful + Gould have a higher than average APC pass rate, making the organisation an obvious choice. I am aiming to sit my APC interview in November of this year, having embraced the support offered by Faithful + Gould.

What skills have you developed since being at Atkins?

Since joining Faithful+Gould a couple of year ago I have had exposure to a wide range of projects, from working on refurbishments of old station buildings to high street shops to new build prisons to hotels, expanding my knowledge of the industry.
Coming from a non-cognate background, with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry (I was undertaking a one year master’s degree in Quantity Surveying) working at Faithful + Gould has greatly enhanced my technical skills and my technical and cost knowledge has expanded at a quicker rate than I ever thought it would have which has allowed me to deliver projects as both Quantity Surveyor and Employer’s Agent.
A particular highlight of my time so far at Faithful+Gould has been the various social events which I have been to, with both colleagues and clients. This has greatly enhanced my confidence and has given me the opportunity to get to know my colleagues in a less formal environment.

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