A free train fair to London to a conference on the tough times architecture students are facing? Go for it! This was probably the most fast paced dialogue I’ve ever been part of; discussions ranging from how to make yourself stand out to employers to the additional freedoms the RIBA is accommodating with PEDRs. It’s great that it is recognised that the requirements of education need refining to those of practice, with the former asking for a ‘PTT’ (“portfolio that thick” – Niall McLaughlin) and the latter requiring an efficient and complete communication on two A1’s.
There were deep reaching questions as to whether the RIBA should change their prescribed curriculum to tailor to practice or to focus on design proficiency. It was exceptionally reassuring to see so much support for the student perspective; Dale Sinclair doesn’t employ anyone for free, when he had international students working for him paid by their own governments he paid them as well! Whilst fantastic ethically most of us can only dream of getting one salary let alone two, and that leads rather neatly onto my only major criticism on what was a very enjoyable event. There are no jobs! ZAP architecture have it right; students currently studying five years at university with two years in practice can expect to amount expenses of £63 726, BUT they have NO guaranteed job. Those entering on the new fees will spend around £88 726. All of the arguments as to what the RIBA should be prescribing to institutions and what the students should be doing to tart up their CVs are great, but ultimately pointless for us, the unemployed, quickly running out of money. Out of a graduating cohort of around 80 I only know of six or seven who have found work. What then for the rest of us?P
P.S. In case you were wondering the wonderful portrait here is Niall McLaughlin, a great chair to the event and very friendly person (even if he does look a little stern here)!