It’s #NationalApprenticeshipWeek and one of this year’s hot topics is degree apprenticeships. The Institute talked to Aidan Scott who’s currently on the degree apprenticeship programme with Gradon Architecture, where he shares his passion about design with the NE40 Studio team. Here, Aidan shares his apprenticeship experience so far – and reveals why doing a degree apprenticeship is a massive plus.

The journey so far

Having graduated from the University of Dundee in 2017 with a BA Hons in Architecture, I went back to my native North East to join Gradon Architecture’s Ne40 team. After working at the practice for a year, I realised I wanted to pursue my career goal of becoming a chartered Architect, however I didn’t want to lose the professional and financial benefits of working for the practice.

That’s when I decided to explore other options of gaining qualifications whilst continuing to develop my professional career. The apprenticeship comprises of a 4-year part time course, working 4 days in Gradon’s NE40 Studio and one day at Northumbria University where I’ll graduate in March 2022.

After doing an undergraduate degree, the decision to undertake a part-time degree apprenticeship means that I can speed up my career journey, whilst making sure my work experience at the practice was counting towards something. The degree apprenticeship appealed to me because it gave me to opportunity to progress towards my target of being a fully qualified architect whilst still gaining valuable experience working in practice.

Understanding industry challenges

Mixing with people from other practices at University has been great too – it’s allowed me to gain an understanding of the challenges that other practices face in the industry. Being able to learn from tutors who have a wealth of practical experience has also been very beneficial to my learning. Having the opportunity to get feedback on both University design work and written work from colleagues has also been very helpful. The technical skills that I continue to develop through work in practice have also been very useful when it comes to the work I do for University.

Through the apprenticeship, and through engaging with colleagues and tutors, I have gained knowledge and experience in a range of Softwares such as Enscape which I was previously unaware of. Thanks to this knowledge, Enscape is now even used within the practice here at Gradon.

Learning from experience

If I had to give another budding architect some advice, I’d say that being able to earn and learn at the same time is a massive plus. Throughout my ongoing apprenticeship, I’ve also learnt a great deal from working in a professional environment, and from being able to collaborate with colleges and others across the industry. This, in turn, has enabled me to diversify in terms of how I approach my work. It’s definitely given me the opportunity to learn from the ranges of experience levels in the workplace, and I’m very glad I did it.

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