My placement search experience as a Gold Scholar

Posted in: Gold Community, Gold Events, Mentoring, Networking, Work Experience

After just completing a 6th month placement in a small architecture practice, I wanted to share my experience of the search for placement and how the GSP away day helped with my morale and direction that I wanted to pursue.

Background about Placement

As a quick background, the Architecture undergraduate course does placement slightly differently to other courses. Instead of a full year out it is split up into the 2nd semester of year 2 and the 2nd semester in year 3. It means that you have the chance to experience different companies, which is exactly what I wanted to make the most of.

Although it was an exciting opportunity, the search for placement in Bath was a bit tricky for me, as smaller companies don't always have the budget to take on placement students, and a few of my course mates were also looking for work in the area.

It is common for architecture students to apply for placement immediately when they want to start working rather than months in advance, so I began the job hunt in early January.

Search for Placement

I sent out a few applications but after not hearing back I decided to focus on the essay and project deadlines coming up. As with all courses, January is stressful to say the least and I definitely had my hands full with coursework!

In 2 months I sent a total of around 30 applications and finally I was invited to 2 interviews, one was a practice in Frome, the other was a company in Bath I had applied to at the start of February which had just opened up a new vacancy and had the space to take somebody on...

GSP Away Day - The Main Event

During my job search I had the opportunity to participate in the GSP Away Day in Bath. The away day started with introductions to the National Trust team and a break down of the brief for the day. Our task was to come up with an idea for a reoccurring event at the Bath Assembly Rooms to inspire young people to get involved with the National Trust. My group and I had some good laughs and brainstormed tons of ideas, finally settling on a photography competition and exhibit for 6th form students. We split up the tasks to plan details of the event and really got stuck in finalising the logistics and cost plans. For the presentation I used my course experience to make a quick collage visual of the exhibition space.

It was fun to try and revive the spirit of historic buildings and it made me more excited to find a placement in Bath. After a long uninspiring month full of stressful deadlines and and unsuccessful applications I realised how much I actually enjoyed this creativity and planning that first inspired me to pursue architecture.

Collage visual showing the Georgian interior of the Bath Assembly Rooms with photography exhibition boards set up. There are groups of people admiring the photographs.
I created a collage that helped to create a sense of place for our proposed photography exhibit

GSP Away Day - Networking Dinner

After the presentations we headed over for a networking meal with the National Trust Committy and a few other mentors, including the director of a small architecture practice in Bristol. He told me about his journey all the way from graduating to starting his own practice. It made me appreciate that it's so valuable to enjoy the process because so much can happen before you reach an 'end goal'; and even then there is so much room to grow, develop and progress your career if you want to. I realised that so many people have been in my boat and that although you'll come across setbacks on the way, it's so valuable to gain various experience if you're unsure about the future.

A few days after my interview I heard back that my application had been successful and I'll be starting in a week or so. I was so excited! The hard work had paid off and I was set for the next 6 months gaining experience and developing my skills.

Start of Placement and my Journey so far

Starting a placement always comes with its challenges but I quickly got the hang of the software and company formatting, and got the chance to work on so many more projects than at the larger company from the year before. A lot of those were listed buildings or located in conservation areas which made me really appreciate the architecture of Bath. I'm still not sure what sort of architecture I would like to go into but it was so valuable working here and gaining experience with local projects and meeting the clients and engineers we worked with.

Final Thoughts

Overall my take aways have been to try different things, don't close off opportunities just because they're out of your comfort zone and definitely make the most of the Gold Scholarship Program because that's what they're here for!

Photograph of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital
The Royal Mineral Water Hospital - A building that I worked on during my placement (BBC, 2021)

Posted in: Gold Community, Gold Events, Mentoring, Networking, Work Experience


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