Interview with RIBA Foundation in Architecture Students

Interview with RIBA Foundation in Architecture Students

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As students on the RIBA Foundation in Architecture course at Oxford Brookes, Bradley Agyei and Omer Ajaj recently joined Scott Brownrigg for a 6-week placement to gain practical experience within a live studio environment. The placements form part of Scott Brownrigg’s Future Talent Programme.

Here we find out what motivated Bradley and Omer to join the course; what skills they have developed; how they have found their time with us; and what their plans are for the future.

Q1. The RIBA Foundation in Architecture is a relatively new course offered by Oxford Brookes University, what motivated you to join the course?

B - My motivation to join the RIBA Foundation course by Oxford Brookes came from my decision to find a new career path that I was not only interested in but passionate about, without having to go through full time education again to achieve it.

O - I have always been interested in design and architecture, and I wanted a way to see if it’s something that I can do as a career. I wanted to join the course because I hoped that it would give me a greater understanding of design, and help me to decide if I should make the move to study architecture and ultimately lead to a career in the field of architecture. Also, I hoped that the course would enable me to create a good portfolio of project work that I could use to peruse further education opportunities, apprenticeships, the RIBA studio certificate part 1 or for employment in an architectural practice.


Q2. The course requires you to do 200 hours of paid work in a practice, why did you choose Scott Brownrigg?

B - I chose Scott Brownrigg because I was impressed by their projects and their approach to the practice. I agree with their culture for work and believe it aligns with my own work ethic.

O - I chose this organisation as I knew that Scott Brownrigg had an esteemed reputation and is in the AJ’s top 20 biggest practices. They also have a diverse range of work which offers a myriad of learning opportunities within different aspects of an architectural and design practice.


Q3. What sectors/projects have you been working on since you joined us?

B - Since joining I’ve worked on a design task for the business sector but the majority of my time has been spent helping out on a school project as part of the Education sector. There is also a personal project which came about from a meeting I had with Director of Practice, Helen Taylor which I’ve worked on in-between tasks or when I have a quiet moment.

O - I worked within the Business Space sector on a variety of tasks and site visits. The team helped me to get experience in different aspects of the type of work they are involved with, which has given me a greater understanding of what architects are responsible for and the complexities of the job.


Q4. Are there any key skills you have developed whilst working here?

B - Key skills I’ve been able to develop in my time at Scott Brownrigg have included my software proficiency. I’ve been using Revit and Sketch-Up software which has given me more focus to improve upon my knowledge of these tools and explore different aspects to them.
In addition to this my visualisation of spaces has improved and this has developed through advice from my team in terms of reference points and being able to join site visits.


O - Yes, by using key design software such as Revit and Sketch-Up, I think I have developed a good in- depth knowledge of these programs.


Q5. What have you enjoyed most about your time with us?

B - Overall I have enjoyed my time, but if I had to say what I enjoyed the most, it would be the people that I have been able to meet and talk to from different sectors. Through conversations, being able to hear about their experiences and the projects they’re working/worked on have both intrigued and inspired me at times.

O - Scott Brownrigg is a great organisation to work in. They have a very supportive and welcoming work environment, and everyone has been helpful to me. I have enjoyed all aspects of my time working within the team.

Q6. Are there any particularly challenges you have faced over the last 6 weeks?

B - Over the 6 weeks I would say my main challenges have been related to my personal project, working within Revit. Certain details were important at times and became hard to create, so I had to be creative with my method of solving them. By asking the team for assistance and by searching for the answer I was able to overcome these challenges.

O - For me the most challenging aspect of this role was knowing it was only on a temporary basis. I liked working for the organisation and would have loved for this opportunity to have lasted longer as the 6 weeks just passed so quickly.

Q7. Would you recommend the RIBA Foundation in Architecture course to others? And if so why?

B - I would recommend the RIBA Foundation course in Architecture because as the name implies it gives you a foundation of knowledge and experience of architecture that you are able to build from, especially coming from a different field of study. It is an alternative that allows people who may not want, or aren’t able to go down the full time education route to still have a chance.
In addition, through completing the course I would say it allows for a more educated decision whether to continue in the profession or not before committing.

O - I would definitely recommend it to someone who is in the position I was in, loves architecture and design, but is not sure how to get into it or what to do. The course will guide them through the process of creating a portfolio, understanding the design process and would show them what options/routes are available for them to realise their dream.


Q6. Your studies finish soon, what are your plans for the future?

B - My future plans are pointing towards starting the Level 6 Apprenticeship route. I hope to start this as soon as possible. In the meantime Scott Brownrigg have extended my placement which is a great opportunity.

O - I am hoping that I can be accepted on a Level 6 Apprenticeship in an architecture program so that I can continue to develop my skills in design, ultimately leading to a career in architecture.

Our Future Talent Programme brings together a whole range of initiatives aimed at supporting the next generation of architects and designers and also improving diversity in the profession. Paid placements for RIBA Foundation course students is a great addition to our programme and we are delighted to know that Bradley and Omer have enjoyed their time with us, picked up some skills and been inspired to continue their careers in architecture. We plan to continue to offer RIBA Foundation and other student placements in the future.

Read more on our Future Talent Programme here.

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