Working in the British Architecture Scene
|How to Prepare
The challenge is to uncover the opportunities that best match your experience relatively quickly.
Over the past five years, the recruitment industry has evolved particularly in architecture. As a result there are really only a handful of recruitment agencies that are great at placing people from abroad. By comparison applying directly to architectural firms is long winded and problematic.
We uncover these agencies and enable you to get their assistance.
Diverse opportunies mean you can choose to balance work with travel or commit to a long-term opportunity.
|Qualified architects and technicians with more than 12 months of experience will thrive.
|Structure your contracts to allow for travel or embrace daily life in the UK.
A Thriving Market
The British architecture scene is thriving, both locally in the UK and on international projects. There are many types of architecture vacancies and projects available. Positions can be either of a contract or permanent nature but may depend on the work visa you hold. Jobs such as architectural technician and CAD draughtsperson tend to be contract roles most frequently. Experience on REVIT and on BIM projects is highly desirable.
Get Hired in Two Weeks
Currently the demand is so great, that qualified architects can generally expect to find a job within 2 weeks of arriving in the UK if you are registered with an agency geared up to help people from overseas. You just need to register with architectural recruitment agencies who can set up interviews before or immediately when you arrive.
Travel & Lifestyle
High demand means you'll have the opportunity to evaluate your options and tailor your position to suit your lifestyle. Find a permanent position, or travel in between contracts. Achitectural firms are located most commonly in London, but can may be offered in cities across the UK.
Handy Tip: If you are searching for work in London, consider finding housing after securing a job. It is not uncommon to have an hour long commute from one part of London to another, so basing your housing around your job can be a lifesaver.
How much experience you should have before applying, what CAD skills you shoud know, and how to format your CV.
In general, in order to get a position in architecture you will need:
- Worked in a commercial organisation/ architectural practice for at least six months (ideally a year or more), in a design or production information capacity.
- At least one year of architecture or architectural drafting emploment
- A detailed portfolio of work, showing work in practice and a summary of university project work, as much as possible on CAD
- If you have experience on projects using the BIM (Building Information Management) process, be sure to highlight this.
CAD skills can make it easy to get employed - particularly contract positions in the UK! Jobs requiring REVIT experience are plentiful right now. Even if you have more senior experience, it is important to brush up on or highlight previous CAD skills for your CV. If design roles are scarce on the ground you might be glad you have the option of some CAD or technician roles in the meantime. Often even a design architect position will require excellent CAD skills.
Key Software Packages:
- REVIT (very high demand)
- AutoCAD V. 14 to 2002 (most popular)
- Microstation (fairly common)
- ArchiCAD (some)
- MiniCAD & Caddy (rare)
Formatting Your CV
- Include all relevant information, but be sure to write in a concise, readable manner.
- Include a to-the-point profile of yourself at the top that includes your area of expertise and goals.
- Using bullet points is recommended.
- List your most recent project first, followed by past experiences.
- Project information should include: your role and duties, as well as the type, scope and cost of each project.
- Do not go into extreme detail when describing your oldest jobs.
British Architects must pass through three levels of qualification prior to application for registration as an Architect – Chartered Status. Part 1 is usually granted upon completion of a first degree in architecture. Part 2 is usually granted upon completion of a second degree or diploma plus a year of practical experience, or after completion of two years practical experience. Usually a further year of experience after Part 2 is required before the candidate sits a Part 3 professional practice exam. After passing Part 3, the architect can then apply for registration as a Chartered Architect with RIBA.
For a more detailed description please visit www.arb.org.uk under ‘Education’ then ‘Practical Training Requirement’.
Yes, if you are intending to practice as an Architect you do need to be covered by (PII) professional indemnity insurance. Even if you are an employee you need to be sure that you are fully covered for PII under your employer’s policy, if necessary make sure this is clearly stated in your contract!
To practice as a Chartered Architect using your international RIBA membership and any combination of the letters RIBA or Chartered Architect in your name or title you must register and be accepted by the Architect’s Registration Board. However to get employed in the UK it is absolutely not required. It may be a good longer term goal to become registered however employers are more interested in your experience in getting jobs done. Other registered architects can sign off on work you are involved with.
Consider not including pictures and images in your CV or resume. That is what your portfolio is great at showcasing. An excellent resume will often be sufficient to get you an interview through an agency – your portfolio will be needed at your actual job interview at the firm hiring. It is also an advantage to send your resume in Word format rather than pdf. Recruitment consultants represent you to their clients and need to adjust your CV to the style expected by their clients.
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