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NTU Architecture students, alumni and industry professionals come together for annual Architecture Exchange event

Students from across the Architecture subject area at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) were joined by alumni and industry delegates for an evening of networking and panel discussions.

Architecture Exchange - Thursday 16 February 2023
Students in attendance for the evening’s guest speeches and panel discussions

Over 100 students and 20 industry delegates joined us for the evening to attend our annual Architecture Exchange event, which was organised and run by NTU’s Employability team, in collaboration with the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment (ADBE).

The evening brought together current undergraduate and masters students and alumni from course areas within NTU’s Architecture subject group, including BArch (Hons) Architecture, BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design. Industry representatives came along to share stories about their career journeys and provided students with career advice.

Representatives joined a range of companies including CPMG, Reds10, Maber, Arc Partnership, Studio Jill, Pick Everard, Peter Philip Developments, BDP, Hays, Mustard Jobs and RIBA. Their roles included directors, architectural technologists, interior designers, project architects, design delivery experts, as well as recruitment consultants specialising in the built environment sector.

The event kicked off at 6pm with a speech from Yamen Badr, a Syrian-born Architect Associate Director currently working for Benoy. Yamen shared stories about his career to date, including his experience researching in China and under-taking a PhD in Nottingham, before tackling varied roles at Benoy such as Architectural Assistant, Urban Designer and Senior Designer. As Yamen joked, the sky is the limit for Architecture students so “to infinity and beyond”.

Chris Jones, ADBE’s School Employability Manager, then introduced guests for the first of three of the night’s expert panel discussions. We were joined to begin by Jill Higgins (Studio Jill), Richard Flisher (CPMG), David Kenyon (Reds10) and Catherine Roberts (Maber) who talked to attendees and took questions about their career motivations, challenges, and progressions.

Students exhibiting their work at Architecture Exchange 2023
NTU students exhibiting their work to visiting industry representatives

The second panel discussion saw Stella Roussou (Arc Partnership), Shraddha Badoni (Pick Everard), Adam Jones (Peter Philip Developments) and Jessica Balm (BDP) share their expertise about industry practice and innovation. As Adam Jones explained, the ‘human factor is still highly valued in the industry despite recent advances in design software and artificial intelligence.

The final panel discussion saw guests discuss current trends in recruitment and provided some advice on the best ways to stand out when transitioning from university studies to first roles in industry. Adam Pogue (Hays), Eddie Cook (Mustard Jobs), Matt Blakeley (RIBA) joined us for this, which was well received by attendees inside a packed Newton’s building Lecture Theatre 5.

Afterwards, refreshments were provided to attendees inside the Newton building foyer, where students, alumni and industry delegates freely mingled. Conversations included chats about work students had brought along to display, advice about how to go about securing work experience and placement opportunities, as well as general discussion about some of the biggest topics at the forefront of the Architecture industry currently.

Reflecting on the evening, Chris Jones, Employability Manager for the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment said: “It was great to see so many of our students engaging with industry professionals and having the opportunity to display and receive valuable feedback on their work.  The industry panel discussions were really useful and we’re very grateful to all of our industry guests for giving their time to inspire and motivate the next generation of architectural talent“.

Visitor Daniel Stanyard, Regional Engagement Partner for the Royal Institute of British Architects said:

“It was a privilege to listen to employers and recruiters from across the sector on the importance of career motivations, current challenges facing the industry, life in practice, innovations in AI and the next steps for graduates going into the industry.

A terrific wrap-up to the evening was the showcase of impressive pieces on display from some of NTU's rising stars, including current mentees of the RIBA East Midlands Future Architects programme. It was a real treat to meet so many students and to discuss with them their work and journey so far.”