My Summer in an Architectural Practice

Showing off that homemade scrunchie, Blazer: Miss Selfridge

I think it’s fair to say that this summer has been the biggest learning curve I’ve ever had. I mean I’ve had jobs before… I was a waitress at a couple of different places and I’ve helped out at my step mum’s business over summer but when you get your first job in the career you’re passionate about its a whole different ball game.

Architecture is a hard field to get a job in when you haven’t finished Part I (first three years), a lot of small companies don’t have the capacity to take on someone who doesn’t 100% know what they’re doing all the time and the large companies such as ARUP are only interested once you’ve passed Part I, I learnt this the hard way when after I finished my foundation year I contacted easily upwards of over 50 companies around the Manchester area only to receive a few replies where I was politely informed they wanted more experience. Looking back now I know it was naive to try and get a job so early but the process taught me a lot.

Fast forward to the following year I was determined to get a job once again. An architecture firm had just finished works on my fiance’s parents house and his mum contacted them asking if they had any summer jobs just on the off chance they had – she knew I was getting ready to job hunt again. Anyway a few emails and an interview later and my job for summer was all set up. It felt amazing to quit my waitressing job knowing that a job at this firm would give me the practical experience I needed about things they don’t teach you at architecture school such as how to submit a planning application and planning policies, I think we’ll do more practical work in third year.

Going into this job I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t mind if my day was filled with making cups of tea and writing things down because I was beyond grateful to be offered such a rare opportunity, even sitting in the office and hearing what went on would be invaluable experience you just don’t get at university. Initially, I was started with smaller tasks and as I found my feet in the industry I was given more responsibility and more opportunities to prove I could be useful and beneficial to the company. Towards the end of summer I was feeling disheartened having to trade in the 3 days a week of practical work experience for 3 days a week of theoretical uni work, so I built up the courage and asked if they would consider keeping me on for 1 or 2 days a week (dependant on how busy they are) alongside my university to which they accepted.

Shirt: H&M, Culottes: H&M, Scarf: New Look

After working in a couple of places that I felt like I didn’t fit in I can honestly say that I’ve been so happy working with like-minded individuals in the architecture industry. Every person has been happy to answer any questions I have or tell me an improved way of doing something which is so useful.

I’m currently writing this sat on the sofa with a cup of English breakfast tea watching the rain and wind outside the window; grateful that when I start my 2nd year of uni next week I’m going into it with a much better understanding and continuing a job that I love. Happy Tuesday everyone!

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