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Robyn Catherwood, Graduate Quantity Surveyor, Atkins


Graduate Quantity Surveyor

Business area: Quantity Surveying
Years into GDP: 1
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, frequently I am assisting the team in the creation of cost plans, I am normally responsible for taking off the measurements and quantities from architectural and structural drawings. I can also be involved in the checking of valuations once the contractor has issued their certificate for payment or the analysis of tenders and the creation of the tender report. I can occasionally be found on site, checking progress and conducting valuations. 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 few months, 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. The Atkins group value charity, with Faithful+Gould celebrating its 70th anniversary by aiming to raise £70,000 by cycling 7,000 in 70 days for the Alzheimer’s Society. Each office across the UK has gotten involved in raising money for this great cause, with everyone doing their bit, I even cycled 3km on a spin bike during my lunch break!

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.

What skills have you developed since being at Atkins?

Since joining Faithful+Gould a few months 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 more than I ever thought it would have in the past few months.

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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