Event Summary – The Architecture Exchange

4 Mar

Photo courtesy of Matt Ashley

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.

DSC_0003Ian 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.

DSC_0006Jane Badu, Senior 3D Designer at Fitch gave us a great presentation on enhancing our employability skills with some thought-provoking words of advice based around 8 key words:

  • 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!

DSC_0007Laurie 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:

  • Network
  • 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

 DSC_0009Finally , 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.

DSC_0014   DSC_0016  P1080996

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




4 Responses to “Event Summary – The Architecture Exchange”


  1. Architectural Technologist Profile – Chris Davies | ADBE Employability - April 25, 2014

    […] 4) Perfect your portfolio – A strong portfolio is a vital pre-requisite for employment in this field as it will be this that demonstrates your skills and technical abilities and around which the interview will generally centre.  Chris recommends a minimum size of A3 and approach it as you would do a project – ensure that it is well presented with good images showing different elements of your work and skills.  Structure is also important – you could base if for example on the RIBA Plan of work stages, or the CIAT requirements.  Make sure you can easily find the work you want to show.  Also, have something (sensible) to say about your examples of work and projects so that you can respond to questions about it at interview.  Chris also created a website and put examples of his work online which is definitely worth considering as it allows prospective employers to get an idea of what you can offer.  NB Further helpful advice on CVs and portfolios was given by Paul Colfer at the recent Architecture Exchange event which you can read about here. […]

  2. Commercial Awareness – how can you stand out from the crowd? | ADBE Employability - November 7, 2014

    […] Design and Construction Recruitment Fair on 5th November and other employability events such as the Architecture Exchange or Women in the Built Environment Events, both of which are due to be repeated this year.  Keep an […]

  3. 10,000 views and counting! | ADBE Employability - November 20, 2014

    […] The Architecture Exchange Event Report  (Feb 14) […]

  4. Don’t miss these networking opportunities! | ADBE Employability - November 26, 2014

    […] 24th February 2015 (TBC) – The Architecture Exchange (Architecture / AT / IAD students)  Click here for an overview of last year’s event, and watch this space for further info. […]

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