Student spotlight: Rio Toyoda
They say that graduating with experience is better than just graduating and I can say with some certainty that my placement at Urban Edge will have borne that theory out, whilst also revealing the huge differences between University theory and workplace practice.
At University, you may get to spend 12 weeks on a project; but it’s a project that never gets built so you don’t really understand the full process and the implications of your decisions. Placement within a working practice and participating in the running of a project has been invaluable and given me a level of understanding that I wouldn’t ever have achieved at University. It has also presented the opportunity to go on a site visit and experience a live project in front of me, rather than through a computer or a series of complicated drawings that perhaps previously I didn’t always fully comprehend.
As Urban Edge is an architectural practice working across multiple sectors, it has also been interesting to experience how various sectors operate and the different processes involved. This has helped to clarify in my mind where I want to specialise. My focus at Urban Edge has been on the later living sector and I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by a knowledgeable and understanding teacher.
Whilst incredibly professional, there’s also a great community spirit in the office. This was especially valued when I first arrived at the practice, with people introducing themselves and offering help should I need it. It made me feel really welcome and helped to settle me in, knowing that very knowledgeable people were always on hand for a chat if I had any queries. Sometimes, when work is incredibly busy, it’s natural to feel reticent about asking too many questions, so it has been equally encouraging that my line manager is always supporting me, checking that I’m carrying out tasks correctly and boosting my confidence about the work I’m doing.
Most importantly, my placement has made me realise even more that this is the profession I want to be in. University has played an incredibly important part in helping to test and improve my skillset ready for the industry, but having now experienced the workplace I realise how much I enjoy working in-practice and look forward to joining the profession once I graduate.
Student spotlight: Jonathan Davis
Following my second year on the Architectural Technology and Practice course at the University of Derby, I was keen to take up the opportunity of a year-long placement in the industry. Having had little prior workplace experience, joining a busy architectural practice was a little daunting, but from the outset Urban Edge have been incredibly welcoming and supportive, encouraging and stretching me at every turn.
At the commencement of the placement I outlined a number of learning objectives, such as routines within the workplace, applying professional practice and most particularly, working in Revit and BIM schedules. Whilst the University course teaches you software and design methodologies, it’s all mostly theory, so to be able to work on live projects in Revit has been an incredible experience and has confirmed that this is something I want to work with a lot more.
Working across a number of different projects, particularly in the later living sector, has acquainted me with a wide range of professional processes, such as construction and design, planning submissions and M&E reviews. In fact, every day at Urban Edge has taught me something new, not just from a professional point of view, but also about myself. Not only has it enhanced my learning, but I feel much more confident about being in the workplace and with the work I’m able to produce.
Working at Urban Edge has also made me consider my future more carefully. University doesn’t always give you the full picture; whilst I’m currently an Architectural Technology student, the insight I have gained from working within a practice and being involved in so many different aspects of the profession has made me think much more about going into full architecture. As a Technologist, the focus is on the actual construction phase of the project, but I’ve now got a taste to see the whole process from beginning to end, solving problems, liaising with the client in the design phase, all the way through to project delivery.
Urban Edge is a great business in which to work and often feels like a big family. The whole experience has been excellent and I honestly feel like I’ve struck gold with this placement.