Vishal Mehta

Graduate Quantity Surveyor (Class of 2014)

Looking back over my 12 months as a QS graduate from Kingston University, I don’t think I could have started my career at a more interesting time. I joined John Rowan and Partners just as the economy was regaining its footing following the recession. There were claims of a massive skills shortages within the industry which, coupled with a large influx of graduates coming out of university, meant that obtaining a graduate job was very competitive.

I’m sure many graduates say that they took the first day in their stride, but that really was the case for me with John Rowan and Partners. On my first day in the office I was given a project to call my own, supported by a very experienced and helpful team that rival any other firm’s.

Yes, it was certainly daunting; let’s face it – what job straight out of university isn’t? But the support I was given armed me with the confidence to take on anyone that stood in my way. I knew I could count on my colleagues’ assistance as and when required. I couldn’t have developed my technical knowledge and personal skills in such a short amount of time at any other company. Within a few months I was regularly attending meetings with both clients and contractors, presenting reports and advising clients on various items. In addition to this I participated in networking events and met a variety of influential players in the industry such as Carillion, Tata Steel and Whitbread (the owners of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn).

From the outset, everybody at John Rowan and Partners was approachable and willing to give up their time in the spirit of teamwork. Each member of the team, from the partners that had been there for decades to the new grad who had only been there for a few months, was valued. We are a family striving for success. In addition to being empowered and having direct contact with clients and various members of their team, I was encouraged to voice my opinions in monthly team meetings, take a lead on projects and included in decision making.

So how have I progressed in the year I’ve been here? Well, I’m halfway through the APC process to becoming a chartered QS. I’m the lead QS for a £60m three year Decent Homes programme with Tower Hamlets Homes, responsible for cost management of the works (which include internal kitchen and bathroom refurbishment and external works of re-decoration, re-roofing, windows/doors replacements and concrete repairs); producing monthly valuations, cost reports and cash flows; preparation of Section 20s for leaseholder consultation; and assessment and agreement of final accounts.

The year has flown by. I have learnt more than I ever thought was physically possible and, dare I say it, more than I learnt during my time at university