Hi I’m Izzi, a student currently studying Architectural Design and Technology at the University of Salford. I’d like to share my story on how I achieved my career and about my experience. And most importantly, life while working as an Assistant Architectural Technician, for a UK House builder.

It was rare for women to a have flare for Design and Technology growing up in high school. I found jobs in construction were never pushed or advertised, it was always Doctors, Teachers, Nurses Etc.

My opinion changed when I found a love for houses and designing.  I took advantage of the weeks in Senior School, allocated for work experience, by contacting all the local Housing Developers. I was awarded 2 weeks in one company’s head office and spent time shadowing the Architects and visiting the show homes in the local area. During the following years, I continued to visit this developer for more and more experience, at Easter and October Holidays.

I also spent a week in an Estate Agents in Liverpool, where I learnt the process of buying and selling homes while assisting the Sales Ladies.

After completing my A-levels, Maths, PE and 3D Design, I received a phone call offering me a job at the housing developer I had completed my work experience in, as a Trainee Architectural Technician and the chance to study Architectural Design and Technology at Salford University.

I thought it would be helpful for people to hear my experience and share my answers to everyday questions:

Was work experience worthwhile?

Of course it was! Work experience opened my eyes to the different job roles within the industry. I was able to speak to professionals to ask their advice on routes I could take or hear how they achieved the job they are currently in. It’s a way of making connections.

I attend university part-time, have I found it difficult to juggle my academic studies whilst working in the industry? 

Yes, it’s hard. It’s not as easy as going full time and having days free to study or read up on the lectures, but you have to free time within work or the while at uni to focus. It also has its benefits though, sometimes if I don’t fully understand some parts of the module I know I’ve got people in work to help and assist with explanations or diagrams. It also closes doors for arranging meetings with lecturers and staff at the uni, but in fairness it’s sometimes easier to ring or email anyway and the staff are always happy to accommodate.

What are the benefits of my chosen degree pathway?

I think the 3 main benefits are; earning while working– the money is always nice to have and knowing you haven’t got any loan or debt to pay off is a bonus! Experience of working in the ‘real world’ – Getting experience while working gives you an insight on how the industry works, office life, working 9-5 and learning what the job role entails. Working in practice enabled me to do a 3 day training course in CAD which has majorly assisted my uni work. Another bonus is being able to attend site and different meetings, creating relationships with other companies and professions such as Solicitors, Landscapers, and Inspectors etc. University has allowed me to gain a CIAT student membership and have attended many of the CPD events in the most recent being The Booth Muirie- Fire stopping.

Do I have any tips for managing the workload? 

Timetables, tick lists and organisation! Having an action plan for the week, posted notes as reminders and planning time wisely are key! Using lunch time or an extra hour every now and again after uni or work is a good idea to keep on top too. I also enjoy keeping a notepad and pen or a sketch book, both at work and at home to jot ideas down at different parts of the day.

Do I feel like I’ve made the right choice? 

Personally yes! It’s disappointing that I miss out on the whole social side of going to uni, moving out etc, but that’s what friends are for, staying with them, experiencing fresher’s and still having the opportunity to join a club! I think full time uni wouldn’t have been my cup of tea, lectures all week wouldn’t be how I learn. Being out and about talking and observing in the industry is much more enjoyable. Every day is different.

I hope to continue to inspire the younger generation, using my story and experience as a guide to increase the number of ladies in the construction industry and show examples of different career routes.

Good Luck in your career 🙂