A Northumbria University graduate is drawing up plans for career success after snapping up an exciting role at a leading design and installation company.

Sophie Atkinson is the newest recruit in the expanding team at Restaurant Design Associates (RDA) based in South Tyneside.

RDA provides a comprehensive design and installation service for the hospitality, catering and retail industries - and works with international blue chip companies, NHS trusts, contract caterers and private businesses of all sizes.

The company was set up by directors Roy and Judith Addyman in 2007, and now employs a workforce of 15, including project managers, specialist consultants and site managers.

Sophie, 21, from Cramlington, has been appointed as a junior interior designer, after graduating from Northumbria University with a First Class BA (Hons) Interior Design degree this summer.

With a passion for all things creative, Sophie knew that her ideal job would be to design interiors within the restaurant and catering industry, so when she read about opportunities at RDA, the company’s work instantly appealed to her.

Since joining RDA, Sophie has hit the ground running by creating mood boards, drawing up elevations and altering CAD plans, choosing colours, furniture and lighting for projects, monitoring schedules, and creating front and back of house sketch plans and visuals for a range of clients, including an expanding burrito bar chain and a catering project in the UAE.

Sophie said: “My initial attraction to RDA came about after reading the company’s website. When I looked through the vast amount of projects the firm had worked on, it gave me a great impression of what it would be like to work there. As soon as I had my interview, I knew this would be a great place to start my career.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at RDA and it’s great to have been involved in project work from day one. It’s good to feel trusted and appreciated within the working environment.”

Director Roy Addyman said: “We’re always keen to support and develop new talent at RDA, and when we met Sophie we were confident that she would be an invaluable addition to our growing team.

“We plan to recruit further graduates next year, and to continue working with local universities to show students that if they have a strong interest in catering design and installation, they can go far in their careers here in the North East.”