Robert Evans Case Study

A change of direction led Robert from Civil Engineering to Chartered Surveying and he couldn't be happier

Robert Evans loves the variety and excitement of working within Development Land at Cooke & Arkwright. He is now happy that his career is going firmly in the direction that he wants it to take - but it wasn’t always like that. Robert says that he didn’t really know what he wanted to do when he started out. He took a course in Civil Engineering at Swansea University because it seemed like a good degree to gain and he’d always had an interest in the built environment.

Although he went on to graduate with honours, while undertaking the course he quickly realised that it wasn’t quite for him. He had good links with surveyors – one of whom was his uncle – and work experience confirmed that this was the type of career he really wanted to pursue.

By the time he had finished his degree in 2009 the recession had hit so deciding what to do was a bit of a dilemma. Further study seemed to offer the possibility of a route into surveying so Robert embarked upon a Masters in Real Estate at the University of West of England. The course was just a year long and ideally Robert needed to get a foot in the door with a surveying firm sooner rather than later. He saw a position advertised with Cooke & Arkwright’s Rating Department, which has a high profile and excellent reputation in the industry, and was delighted to be invited for interview.

“It was a turning point when I was accepted for the position,” says Robert. “My degree was ongoing, but Cooke & Arkwright gave me the flexibility I needed until I gained my Master’s in 2010. Working in Rating gave me an excellent grounding and the vital skills I needed, whilst expanding my breadth of knowledge across all sectors.

“Cooke & Arkwright was also extremely supportive to me while I pursued my goal to gain Chartered Surveyor status. It felt a huge achievement when I became a Member of the RICS three years later.

“Subsequently, the opportunity came to move within the firm into Development Land. I have learnt so much in this specialist department working under the expert guidance of our Chairman, Michael Lawley and Managing Director, Andrew Gardner, who are leaders in their field. We are involved in providing advice on some of the biggest developments in Cardiff in recent years, including the Plasdwr Garden City.

“I am so glad that I took this career path. It’s variously demanding, stimulating, challenging and rewarding, and I would recommend it to anyone. You never know what each day will bring and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been bored!”

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group