Sophie Robinson

Location: London

Qualifications: MSc in Real Estate Development

I joined SQW as a Research Consultant/Graduate Surveyor in the Land and Property team in September 2019 after completing an MSc in Real Estate Development at the University of Manchester. Throughout my degree, I developed an interest in development, regeneration, viability modelling and appraisals. I joined SQW because their offer aligned with my personal values and aspirations: the overarching aim of SQW's Land and Property work is to provide reasoned development advice to improve outcomes for places. Projects tend to be complex either in terms of size (multi-phase new settlements) or context (estate or town regeneration). Additionally, it was evident that I would be given the training and support required to become qualified as a RICS Chartered Surveyor. I chose the Management Consultancy pathway because it was the closest fit to my day-to-day role, but the Planning and Development pathway is also accessible.

At the outset, I was part of interesting projects that have been widely recognised for their impact and creditability. For example, the Sutton Coldfield Masterplan was highly commended at the Planning Awards 2021. I prepared the demand study for the project which was used to evidence the range of proposed uses and functions to capitalise on opportunities in the town centre.

Fast forward two and half years; I have contributed to a variety of projects and no two days have been the same. For example, I’ve prepared development appraisals and cashflows for large-scale mixed-use residential schemes and innovative new housing delivery models to be piloted nationally; attended resident consultations and provided development advice for estate regeneration schemes; and appraised affordable housing business cases to release public-sector investment. I’m actively being encouraged to develop my project management skills and industry knowledge to further my professional development.

Some of the most enjoyable parts of working at SQW, aside from the interesting project work, are the people and the pace at which I am developing professionally. It’s a fast-paced environment - sadly there are still deadlines after university - but everyone supports one another. The people I work alongside are friendly and approachable. I’m in the final stages of my RICS accredited pathway and working alongside knowledgeable colleagues with varied expertise has helped develop my understanding of the built environment, regeneration, and economic development. I’ve been encouraged to push my boundaries and lead on specific workstreams, communicate findings to clients and promote our services to the wider sector. As a result, my first few years as a Consultant at SQW have been rich with knowledge and experiences that, I honestly believe, would be hard to match elsewhere.