Preparing for Practice: Third Year Work Experience
PROFESSIONAL STUDIES FORMS an integral part of all courses in the School of Architecture and Cities. ‘Preparing for Practice’ is a third year undergraduate module designed to enable students from all undergraduate disciplines to gain some of the skills necessary to gain a Part 1 Year Out placement whilst getting the most from professional opportunities. Much loved by our students and highly valued by the profession and practices, the module builds both on the RIBA mentorship scheme which runs in the autumn term, as well as the opportunities offered across first and second year to enable experience in practice. The module is organised around guiding students through the steps necessary to successfully gain Year Out employment and culminates in a two-week placement in a London (usually RIBA Chartered) practice. We aim to tailor the student and practice pairing as carefully as possible and have a wide range of offices that take part including this year’s Stirling prize winning Mikhail Riches, Foster + Partners, Adjaye Associates, Burrell Foley Fischer, Morris and Co., Michaelis Boyd, and dRMM as well as smaller, younger practices including Studio Bark, Amos Goldreich Architecture, and Sophie Nguyen Architects. The experience informs a number of learning outcomes, including a detailed analytical report, which encourages the knowledge and breadth of understanding necessary for targeted career decisions and strategies.
Working closely with the profession, many of whom contribute to the module, Preparing for Practice delivers practical and focused lectures on key aspects of the profession, as well as encouraging debate on issues of ethics, morality and the role of the architect against a context of climate crisis and persistent patriarchal colonial hegemony. The University’s Employability Team also offers a Skills Academy to support the transition between academia and practice. Working with the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the scheme offers students profession-led workshops and practical help with job seeking.
Despite the course focusing on students gaining experience in architect run practices, we continue to support students gaining experience in some unusual, but architecturally relevant, contexts. In the past students have worked with the BBC, English Heritage, Developers and Contractors.