We speak to newly qualified Architect, Amy Allwood, about her journey so far and what advice she would give to others thinking of pursuing a career in architecture.
Amy is our first apprentice to become a fully qualified architect. She is also among the first cohort of architectural apprentices in the country to qualify through Oxford Brookes University, after joining Scott Brownrigg’s apprenticeship programme in 2018.
Why did you choose the apprenticeship route into architecture?
When I first started to consider pursuing a career in architecture, I had no other option other than to go to University. I found out about the new Part 2 and 3 Apprenticeship Programme while finishing my Part 1 at Oxford Brookes University in 2018, and knew that working in practice while studying would be a more enjoyable journey for me. I was ready to jump into the world of work; I wanted to apply what I was learning to real scenarios and looked forward to working with, and learning from other designers on a day-to-day basis. If there had been the option to pursue the apprenticeship route from the very beginning, I would have definitely gone down that road. Fortunately now, the Architectural Assistant Apprenticeship Level 6 course has created this opportunity for future applicants.
What attracted you to the Scott Brownrigg apprenticeship?
I approached Scott Brownrigg in the summer of 2014 for work experience before I went to University, as I wanted to confirm that architecture was the right career path for me. I really enjoyed the studio environment and the culture that surrounded working at the practice. Scott Brownrigg helped me gain a greater understanding of the Industry. So when I realised that they played a key role in the helping the RIBA with the development of the new architecture apprenticeship route, they were my first port of call for an apprenticeship.
Are there any particular elements you enjoyed about the apprenticeship?
Where to start! Fundamentally, I loved the fact that this was a practical route and that I could apply what I had learnt to real projects. The apprenticeship programme provides students with structured, hands-on training whilst working towards our qualifications. This also had a really positive impact on my confidence which grew exponentially from having a mentor, working with professionals in the field, and as I started to recognise that this practical experience was enhancing my studies.
Have there been any challenges along the way?
I was one of the first set of students to sign up to the new apprenticeship programme, so I expected a level of uncertainty and some trial and error along the way. In reality, this created a unique opportunity to help shape a course to benefit both ourselves and future students, while a select group of pioneering architecture practices including Scott Brownrigg, ensured that it would support industry need.
The apprenticeship route is very flexible which I think is really important. For personal reasons, I had to postpone my Part 3 for a short period before continuing with the course. Not an easy decision to make at the time, but one that I feel has benefitted me greatly in the long term and probably contributes to being qualified today.
What advice would you give to others considering the apprenticeship route into architecture?
Architecture isn’t an easy subject, but it’s incredibly rewarding, especially when you’re able to start working on real projects. As an apprentice, we have to juggle work and university which can be a lot to manage. You really do have to be very organised and disciplined when it comes to time management, but don’t let that put you off! I’ve loved the process and would do it all over again if I needed to.
What’s next for you now that you’re a qualified architect?
The novelty of being a qualified architect hasn’t worn off just yet! However I would like to continue with the academic side of architecture, and explore opportunities for undertaking research alongside my day-to-day work. Research and development is an area that Scott Brownrigg as a practice invest heavily in, and encourage people of all levels within the business to get involved with. I’d really like to learn more about the innovative solutions and technologies that we can develop further, especially in relation to data centres, to benefit the environment and end user alike.
Find out more about Apprenticeships at Scott Brownrigg here.