We spoke to a range of employers at our Meet the Employers: Architecture event on 1 February to find out what skills and experiences they look for in a graduate and some top tips for getting a career in architecture.

Do you offer summer work experience at the end of year 1/2? If yes, how and when should a student apply?

PLACED

“At PLACED, we don’t just offer summer work experience, but flexible volunteering throughout the year. This is an ongoing programme that offers students to work with young people to deliver workshops to young people to engage them in the built environment around them. Our programme is open to students from all years and you can apply throughout the year. Be becoming a student ambassador, you can develop your communication skills and learn to speak to children without using the technical jargon you use on your course everyday. You will also get a profile on our website and you will also get the chance to speak to people who could become your future clients!”

Saunders

“We do offer summer work experience, depending on our own personal workload, and it is open to students from all year groups. For us, it’s not just about your level of skills or experience, it’s about your personality, your hobbies and how proactive you are? We have taken on artists in the past who have gained lots of valuable graphic design experience with us.”

Grimshaw architects

“Yes we do offer summer work experience to students. These opportunities aren’t necessarily advertised because of workload so it’s important for students to network and contact offices directly if you are looking for work experience.”

PRP Architects

“This very much depends on workload of our company throughout the year. It’s definitely worth looking on the website and contacting offices directly if you want to show your interest in getting work experience.”

What can students do now to prepare themselves for a career in architecture?

PLACED

“Volunteering is definitely a great experience for you to get involved in while you at studying as it is very flexible and can work around your studies. It can be a challenge to find short term work experience that fits around your other part-time work or course so volunteering is a really good option to help you to develop your skills.”

Saunders

“Make sure that you make the most of networking events like these and make the most of the opportunity to chat to people. It can be a great way to build relationships with employers which could help you to secure work experience.”

Grimshaw architects

“It’s really important to gain ‘soft skills’ alongside your degree. Qualities like communication skills and being personable will help you in this sales-type environment. It’s really important not to be anxious over software too so try and practise where you can. Make sure that you make the most of these networking events too.”

PRP Architects

“Meeting people and networking is really important while you are still studying to build your network. Ensure that you represent yourself well and we are looking for friendly, enthusiastic and approachable people to work for us. Have the confidence to believe in what you are talking about and remember that we look for 50% portfolio and 50% communication skills. We believe that the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is really key here so make sure that you are fully prepared with a good portfolio.”

Find out more about these employers below:

PLACED

PLACED delivers hands-on, creative programmes that excite, empower, enable and engage the public, in particular young people, about the built environment. Working with schools and universities, our Education programmes give young people the opportunity to learn about the built world, whilst supporting access into professional careers.

Saunders

We are a 70 strong practice,  Architects, Technologists, job runners and support staff, many of whom have been with us for over 15 years, specialising in food and non-food retail developments, shopping centres, mixed use and master planning, large and small scale residential developments, both low and high rise, retirement apartments, car showrooms, offices,  leisure and community buildings.

Grimshaw Architects

The Grimshaw studio is founded on analysis and exploration. We relish the challenges inherent across a wide range of work, engaging our expertise and agility to deliver lasting, meaningful design that brings value and joy to clients and users.

PRP Architects

PRP is a long-established architectural firm with over 100 awards to its name. An interdisciplinary practice, we offer a full range of design and building services including masterplanning, urban design, sustainability, landscape, planning, interior design and building consultancy.

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