The leap from Education to Employment

Words: Lauren Heather

Making the leap from education to employment is a daunting task. Many employers often look for a combination of academic results as well as hands on experience. However this combination isn’t always easy to come across. The RIBA mentoring scheme however provides this bridge and has provide the stepping stone in helping me progress from education in to a full time career.

I graduated from the University of Kent in July but was lucky enough to secure a job with gdm architects at the end of May thanks to the RIBA mentoring scheme. As part of the RIBA mentoring scheme in my 3rd year Glen Ernest of gdm architects was assigned as my mentor which allowed me to experience a taste of the working architectural world. During my last few weeks at University I had started to contact companies for my placement year, gdm being one of them. I was invited in for a week’s work experience to aid me in my search for a placement and in turn was offered a job by the end of the week which I couldn’t have been happier about. The working environment at gdm architects I had found to be such a lovely place with the people to match, it was like I was a part of the team already, everyone was very keen to talk to me and help whenever I needed it and they still are!

Transitioning from university life to working happened very quickly as I joined gdm a week after my final examination which I am thankful for. I have worked throughout my A level and university schooling, so I was no stranger to the working day, but what I did find was myself enjoying every moment as I was having fun with the work I was assigned and the people around me. Compared to studying, the work environment is very different, but in a good way, I am spending much more time on areas in which I wouldn’t have whilst studying, which is allowing me to progress and give me valuable skills which I will take through to my part 2 and 3 course. As for the projects I have been working on since starting with gdm, I was given a nice starter project of a single housing development which allowed me to design a modern house from scratch and have it submitted for planning permission. Since then I have been working on many projects from a number of housing developments to larger commercial and industrial projects in the early stages of design and development, working with various members of gdm to complete planning drawings and documentation.

Developing my skills and knowledge is the main purpose of this year so I promptly signed myself up for an Autodesk Revit course after a few weeks of working so that I was able to use the software in the office. This course gave me much needed knowledge of what the software can do and how it can be used, I am yet to use it myself on a project at gdm but I am very much looking forward to getting to work on one of gdm’s main projects to widen my knowledge of the software and the process that takes place which will move me forward in my architectural journey to become a fully qualified architect. gdm architects has not only provided me with a wonderful working experience and a friendly working environment but with several fun-filled social and charity events and many Friday pub lunches with the team, of which there is more to come!