Be the architect of your own success


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Wednesday 12th October marks Day 3 of Work Experience Week 2016 and today we are focussing on work experience opportunities within the local architectural industry. In order to find out more about this niche industry we visited ARPL architects in Ayr, South Ayrshire and spoke with Director Rebecca Cadie to hear what she had to say about choosing architecture as a career choice and how her organisation has benefitted from working with young people.

Firstly we asked Rebecca, why do you take on pupils for work experience placements?

“Being an architect is very much a career you don’t know about until you try it. Giving a pupil who wishes to pursue a career in this industry a work experience placement allows them to gain realistic expectations. I feel all young people definitely benefit from a placement as it gives them a real insight into the adult world of work.”

ARPL offer pupils the opportunity to experience a week of being an Architectural Assistant through the work experience programme hosted by the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Rebecca feels it is good for the current staff members at ARPL to interact with young people and hear their fresh and relevant ideas.

It is also extremely beneficial for the pupils to interact and network with professionals in the industry as Rebecca states most young people are not 100% aware of just how long it actually takes to become a fully qualified architect.

“After leaving school pupils will need to go on to university and gain their degree. Following on from this students will carry out a postgraduate course before going on to obtain 2 years work experience which is crucial in determining their future career prospects. Without this work experience most graduates will find it almost impossible to get a job therefore meaning there is usually a minimum of 7 year’s worth of education and experience required.”

So what skills and qualities does Rebecca look for in a young person?

“They need to be good at problem solving, have great communication skills and have the ability to deliver 3 dimensional thinking. They also need to be dedicated and have technical and practical qualities that suit the needs of the business.”

During our visit to ARPL our Business Liaison Officer Samantha Wallace conducted a Health & Safety check on the premises to ensure the environment was clean and safe for the pupil arriving the following week. During this Rebecca was asked what type of safety equipment is used within the business. Rebecca replied:

“Hard helmets, high-vis jackets and steel toe cap boots are essential. People also need to be wrapped up warm if they are going on site. A lot of aspiring architects come in wearing suits on the first day but the reality is they soon learn they need to be comfortable especially for site visits. The week of work experience therefore allows the young person to gain this insight knowledge first hand.”

Business Liaison Officer Sam Wallace conducting Health & Safety check at ARPL

With our interview with Rebecca coming to an end we wanted to ask one final question, would you recommend Architecture as a career choice to young people?

“Absolutely. It is a very rewarding job through the achievements you make. Training is long and the industry is always hit first and last when changes in the economy occur, but getting on site and seeing your drawings come to life definitely makes it all worthwhile.”

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