Supporting your journey into practice

Starting your journey into architectural practice can be competitive, so it’s important to set yourself apart. Rachel Hoolahan, Architect & Sustainability Co-ordinator at Orms and judge of AJ Student Prize discusses ways that you can stand out…

We know that you’re coming out of a training programme and have spent the last few years in full time education, so one of the ways to set yourself apart is by making sure you show your personality. Ask questions and show an interest in previous projects the practice has worked on to show you’ve done your research.

Ask questions: Ask loads of questions when you start working in practice too, no one expects you to know everything, and this is your opportunity to learn. Don’t worry about having experience and we don’t expect you to have used all the programmes. Ask all your questions in the first few months, it shows that you are interested and willing to learn. It also helps us to understand what you don’t know and highlights areas where we can support you.

Work experience: Although practices aren’t looking for experience, being able to demonstrate work experience in any working role is a good thing, even if not related to architecture. Look out for summer internships while you are studying, they are a great way to gain relevant experience and good to add to your CV.

Mentoring: Be aware of the extra support that is available through mentoring programmes. The RIBA Future Architects student mentoring scheme offers around 1,000 places to mentees each academic year. These places are normally for Part 1 year 3 students, but some Universities run places for Part 1 year 2 students. To read more about the programme and register your interest, follow the link:


Any practice asking you to have architectural experience as a Part 1 is not industry best practice. You should push back if you find yourself in this situation and remind them that you have just come out of full-time education.