Apprenticeships

Chobham Manor architect work experience placements 2014

In summer 2014, young people gained work experience placements with architects for the Chobham Manor project, PRP Architects and Make, some of London’s leading practices. The placements were funded by Chobham Manor LLP and set up in partnership with Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which supports young people aspiring to work in architecture and the built environment.

Chobham Manor LLP is a joint venture between development partners, L&Q housing association, which owns more than 70,000 properties in London and the South East, and leading national homebuilder, Taylor Wimpey. Together with the London Legacy Development Corporation, they have designed a neighbourhood suitable for a wide-range of Londoners which includes 75% family homes.

Chobham Manor LLP is providing employment opportunities for local people. Initially, the main focus of these opportunities was to be centred on job roles within the construction industry. However, we felt that opportunities should not just be limited to the construction phase of the project and with this in mind developed two architecture summer placements.

These summer work placements have enabled the successful candidates to gain credible hands on experience and strengthen their CVs as well as obtain a solid foundation to shape and progress their career.

Khalida Ahmed

Khalida case study 2

Khalida Ahmed is 20 years old. She was born in Tower Hamlets in East London and she currently lives in the London Borough of Newham. She is studying for her Part 1 degree in architecture at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communications. In summer 2014, Khalida applied for a six-week placement with an architecture firm to work on the Chobham Manor development that was advertised through the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Khalida’s application and interview was strong and she was successful in gaining a six-week paid placement with PRP Architects. She was awarded £1,000 cash and £330 towards her travel expenses for the six weeks and an iPad mini at the end of the placement.

Khalida was also allocated a mentor from PRP Architects to support her throughout the placement, who will continue to support her after the placement is finished. During the six weeks, she was able to put to use her existing skills in programmes such as Photoshop, learn how to use new programmes such as Revit and gain experience in model making. She also gained experience of sitting in on meetings with clients, directors and engineers.

Khalida Ahmed said of her six-week placement with PRP Architects:

“I am so pleased to have had the experience of working at PRP Architects, it has given me an insight into what it is like working for an architecture firm. The people at PRP have been extremely friendly and very helpful. This placement has allowed me to put to use my existing skills in software such as ‘Photoshop’ and build contacts which I can maintain during my studies and into my future. The placement has also allowed me to build my confidence, with new acquired skills which will become a stepping stone for my future career in architecture.

“I now feel more motivated to continue to pursue my career in architecture and I am especially interested in residential architecture which is an area that PRP Architects are well-known in. I am passionate about residential architecture because when designing a home you are thinking about the family who are going to live there for the next 50 years and that personal consideration with the building is what is important to me.”

David Bank, who mentored Khalida throughout her placement at PRP Architects explained:

“I had the pleasure to mentor Khalida during the 6 weeks she spent at PRP. She had the possibility to work in different departments throughout the practice. She was first involved in graphical work on elevation drawings using Photoshop. She was then given the opportunity to join our Modelshop for a couple of days to get some experience in model making. Later she was helping the in-house environmental team with their tasks. Additional to that, our graphics department were able to teach her a couple of tricks using software such as InDesign. I personally was able to teach her some Revit skills so she could help on our project to adjust a number of flat types. We are glad we were able to offer Khalida some insights into a broad number of activities.”

Sahar Pathan

Sahar case study 2

Sahar Pathan is 19 years old and lives in London borough of Newham, she also grew up in East London. Sahar completed her first year of her Part 1 degree in architecture at the University of Westminster in June 2014 and started her second year in September 2014. In summer 2014, Sahar applied for a six-week work experience placement to work on the Chobham Manor project. She heard about the placement as a result of attending a workshop on the design of Chobham Manor with the Legacy Youth Panel, of which Sahar is a member. Following a successful interview, Sahar gained a placement with architecture firm Make. She was allocated a mentor from the firm throughout her placement who will also provide ongoing support.

During the six weeks, Sahar was given the opportunity to focus on model making as this was an area that was of particular interest to her. She attended two site visits as well as client meetings and she was also given the opportunity to include some of her work in the design and access statements. Sahar explained that she learnt a lot over the duration of the placement and was able to develop new skills that will help her in her future studies. She said that one of the most valuable things about the placement was that it has given her an understanding of how an architecture firm really works and that the experience has also boosted her confidence and motivated her to continue studying architecture and complete her Part 2 and 3. Sahar also expressed her excitement about the scale and stage of the Chobham Manor project that she was working on, she proclaimed:

“I never thought I would have the chance to work on such a big project at this stage and when it is finished I can tell people that I helped with bits of that.”

Sahar was awarded an iPad mini on completion of the placement and was paid a £1,000 grant and £330 towards her travel expenses for the duration of her placement. Sahar remarked:

“I’m really pleased that I got the opportunity to do this placement as I’ve gained a lot that will hopefully help me with my future and during my year out”.

Simon Robins, Architect at Make said:

“It has been a real pleasure working with Sahar during her placement with us at Make. The enthusiasm she brought to the project was infectious, which ensured that she seamlessly integrated into the Chobham team. During her time with us she turned her hand to a number of aspects of the scheme development from model making to the creation of reports, skills which we are sure will be useful through her studies and professional career beyond. It was a pleasure to see Sahar’s confidence growing as her time with us passed. During the last couple of weeks she was involved in the development of new facade design for a residential high-rise building. These conceptual proposals have been used to drive the design evolution onward and are an integral part of the project development. Now that Sahar has completed her placement we hope that she has a clearer understanding of what she can expect from a career in Architecture and we wish her well as she continues her studies.”

Mojdeh Moasser, who mentored Sahar during her time at Make also remarked:

“As a mentor I got to know Sahar more on a personal level and got a clear understanding of the source of her interest in architecture and her aspirations for the future. I felt that there is a strong integrity in her approach towards her work but also towards everyone that she works with. There is an honesty and kindness that seeps through her personality making her a real asset to any team. I look forward to keeping in touch with Sahar and watching her progress.”

Ioana Tamas

Ioana case study 2

Ioana Tamas, aged 21 from Romania had recently graduated from the University of Greenwich gaining her Part 1 BA degree in Architecture when she applied for the six-week work experience placement. She heard about the opportunity from a Tutor at her University via the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. At the interview Ioana impressed the selection panel so much that she was offered a one-year paid placement with PRP Architects that she accepted and started in August 2014.

Ioana remarked:

“I was very surprised when I received a call from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. They informed me that whilst I hadn’t been successful in gaining the 6 week placement, the panel were very impressed after my first interview and therefore PRP Architects would like to further interview me for a one-year paid placement instead. I feel very lucky. I had put a lot of preparation into my application and I’m delighted that I’ve been offered a one-year paid placement so soon after completing my Part 1 [Architectural degree]. I am very grateful to PRP Architects for offering me this opportunity.”

Ioana explained that she has really been enjoying working with the team at PRP Architects so far and is learning new things every day. She also explained that because PRP Architects is a big practice with a lot of specialist teams, this means that she has been able to gain input and insight from different employees who work there.

She continues:

“For me, the PRP office is a great learning environment. Alongside gaining practical experience within the industry, it has also made me more aware of other interrelating factors that may affect a project. Currently I am working in a team which is developing the early stages of a masterplanning project and, as such, I have the chance to learn about the space between the buildings and how different factors feed into the programme. Overall, the project aims to create a new identity and better places for the community, and it’s great to see how that materialises in the design of the landscape and the massing surrounding it. In a literal sense, I am learning to understand the wider picture of the urban setting and I really enjoy that. Then there is also the scale and the scope of other PRP projects, which I enjoy finding out about.

“I recently participated at the Staff Away Day event, where we were presented with different projects and had the chance to reflect on the outcomes and challenges surrounding them. I find it great that, given the nature and size of the practice, there are teams of many different specialists developing a pool of knowledge on issues that are affecting citizens at a national level. For example, I was impressed to learn more about the proposal for the speculative Garden City project, which was done in collaboration with Shelter for the Wolfson Prize competition.”

After her placement Ioana intends to progress onto her Part 2 and continue with a Masters programme that will enable her to further explore interests that she has developed during her undergraduate years and throughout her placement with PRP architects.

Chobham Manor architect work experience placements 2013

Two architecture students from the east London borough of Newham have successfully completed work placements with architects PRP, Make, Karakusevic Carson, Haworth Tompkins and muf architecture/art, part of the design team behind Chobham Manor, the first new neighbourhood on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.The two placements were funded by the Chobham Manor development partners, L&Q (one of London’s largest residential developers) and leading national homebuilder Taylor Wimpey.

The project was delivered in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which supports young people seeking to become architects.Apprenticeship provider Reds10 assisted in setting up the project, which also had the active support of the London Legacy Development Corporation. To apply for the placements, candidates had to be local architecture students, including those who have graduated but not yet joined a practice.The two successful candidates, Esref Ghazi and Ebenezer Solola, have now gained practical architectural experience working on the Chobham Manor development, and are continuing to be mentored by architects from Haworth Tompkins and muf architecture/art.

As a result of the interview process, a third candidate, Oscar Wokowu, gained a temporary job as a model maker working for Haworth Tompkins on the Chobham Manor scheme.

Oscar Barnabas

Architectural Students 05

Oscar Barnabas Wokowu is 25 years old and is a part-two architecture student in his fifth year of study at the University of East London. He grew up in South East London and went to Lewisham College. Oscar was offered a temporary role as a model maker for Chobham Manor at Haworth Tompkins and worked there for six weeks over the summer of 2013.

Oscar’s placement involved making physical models for the QRP meetings and on a couple of occasions he also got to work on the Design Access Statement. Oscar’s placement gave him the experience of working on a real project and allowed him to make some valuable contacts with people in the industry. Oscar gained some further CAD skills from the work placement and he feels that the experience has enabled him to mature as a designer.

He explains:

“The placement was an amazing experience as I got the opportunity to fully work on a real project and contributed towards its success. I have really enjoyed attending design reviews and meetings, which I have learnt a lot from.”

Oscar believes that his placement will also enhance his CV and put him in a better position to find permanent work when he finishes his course next year.

Esref Gazi

Architectural Students 01

Esref Gazi is 23 years old and grew up in Stratford, East London. He graduated in Architecture and Urban Design from Westminster University in 2011 with a 2:1 degree.

Oscar entered a competition to design a sustainable home at Chobham Manor that was advertised through the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and was one of the two successful entrants to be offered work experience placements funded by Chobham Manor LLP. Esref was placed with architecture firms MUF Architechture and Karakusevic Carson Architecture for six weeks and was rewarded with £1,000 and an IPad at the end of his placement.

During the placement, Esref was given a mentor and he explained that this was really valuable in supporting him throughout his placement but also in helping him understand what he needed to do in order to get where he wanted to be in terms of his career.

Esref explains:

“It’s been great to see how things really work, the laws and guidelines around how architecture is made and how they apply. It’s also been good to see the pressure and tight timescales. The model making has been really fantastic – taking the work that we do to other companies and seeing my work being recognised and how it fits into the whole.”

Esref also talks about how the placement has been “a real confidence boost”; he says:

“It’s made me realise what it is I’m actually getting myself into and how different it is working for an architecture firm compared with University.”

In 2014 Esref plans to study for his part II qualification. Esref also wants to continue working with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and “give something back to other young people one day”.

Ebenezer Solola

Architectural Students 03

Ebenezer Solola is 23 years old, from Nigeria and currently living in Manor Park, London. He graduated in 2012 from Ravensbourne University in Interior Design Environmental Architecture with a 2.1 degree, and was one of two successful entrants in a competition to design a sustainable home at Choham Manor that was advertised through the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Ebenezer’s designs won him a six-week work placement with three different architecture firms: PRP, Make and Haworth Tompkins.

Ebenezer explains that he gained real insight into what it would be like to work in an architecture firm. He learnt how to use new software, including revit, PRP, microstation and Make Architect. During his placement at Haworth Tompkins he was taken onto site and learnt how the buildings were being built as they went through a detailed inspection, teaching him what needed changing.

Ebenezer explains that this process has given him a real overview of all of the different aspects of architecture and “how it all fits together”. Ebenezer was also given a mentor throughout his placement and he describes this as being “one of the best bits of the placement”, encouraging him through the placement and in his future career as an architect.

Since Ebenezer graduated last year, he had been struggling to find employment in architecture and was considering embarking on an MA course in something different; however, this placement has boosted his confidence and he explains that he “now feel(s) determined and inspired to continue with a career in architecture”. Ebenezer was also rewarded with £1,000 and an IPad at the end of his placement.