Thursday 27th February saw 50 students and 20 employers attend NTU’s first Architecture Exchange Event, and it was a great success.
Organised jointly by the Employability Team, NTU’s Architecture Society and the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, the event was designed to bring together final year students of architecture, architectural technology and interior architecture and design with architecutural employers and professionals in order to enhance the students’ employability and contacts and to forge closer links between the university and employers.
Kicking off at 5pm with refreshments and a chance for guests to look at examples of student work, our visitors were then given a tour of the university’s amazing research laboratory for creative and virtual technologies.
We then moved into lecture theatre 5 where Peter Westland, Dean of the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment welcomed us and shared with us his reflections on employablity. Adrian Cohen of the NTU Architecture Society proceeded to give us an overview of the impressive work that the society has been doing this year, and we then had 4 presentations from professionals within the industry.
Ian Walton, Associate Director at Benoy, himself an NTU graduate, gave us an overview of the extensive range of work that Benoy does from their Newark offices. Incorporating 71 staff and working in 7 countries throuout the world from the Newark office alone, Benoy are involved in a range of exciting projects, displines and sectors, and this is only set to expand over the next few years.
- Personality (make a personal contact with yout interviewer)
- Portfolio (personality helps us to remember you, but your portfolio will hold our attention; tell us a story when presenting your work)
- Questioning (we need graduates who are prepared to ask questions)
- Get involved (you need to get stuck in and have a go)
- Confidence (if you doubt yourself, you can put doubt into other people’s minds)
- Creative Everyday (be creative in your every day life – take pictures, write blogs, enjoy exploring creative ideas)
- Explain (talk about projects in a clear way – tell stories about them)
- Have fun!
Laurie Rowe, Design Ambassador from the Institution of Engineering Designers then gave us an overview of the institution and the general importance of joining and professional body. She also spoke about her ‘hobby’ which involves running 2 kitchen design businesses (!) and her tips for employablity, including:
- Attend exhibitions / conferences
- Research potential employers and clients
- Understand the brief
- Maintain budget and timescales
- Identify professional developement opportunities – courses and training
- Join professional societies and institutions
Finally , Paul Colfer, Part 2 Architectural Assistant at CPMG and a 2013 NTU MArch Graduate shared some practical tips on how to put together an effective CV and portfolio, showing us some great examples of his own work. Some of his tips included:
- Keep your CV short and concise. Don’t follow online templates. Don’t include too many images. Paul tends to focus on including one striking image which represents what his work is all about.
- Get yourself out there – Paul keeps a regular blog and as a result, his online CV is viewed 20-30 times a day.
- Update your skills; understading of BIM and the ability to use Revit will confer a real employability advantage
- Take the opportunity whilst at university to work with acadamics and researchers to enhance your own experience, understanding and skills
- Keep in touch with people from university and continue to do projects with them or enter design competitions outside work.
We followed these presentations with 3 ten minute round table question and answer sessions, where small groups of students were able to talk in more detail with employers to gain an insight into what they look for from their graduates and gain their advice regarding graduate recruitment and selection.
Finally, it was back to the wine and nibbles for an hour of informal networking between students and employers, and a further opportunity for employers to view students work.
The general vibe of the evening was really positive, and the initial feedback from the event showed an average satisfaction rating of 9 out of 10. Hopefully this event has really helped those students present to gain a real insight into the world of architectural employment and has given them the opportunity to make new contacts, whilst at the same time introducing a number of new employers to the university, its students and facilities. Thanks to everyone who attended.
Photos courtesy of Matt Ashley