Case study

Architectural assistant — Pradumn Pamidighantam

Pradumn discovered that to succeed in architecture, you need patience, perseverance and passion, qualities he acquired as he studied...

How did you get your job?

After I graduated with a BArch (Part 1) from Nottingham Trent University, I undertook an MArch (Part 2) qualification from Liverpool University in 2013. I currently work as a Part 2 architectural assistant at BLOK Architecture. I was quite structured about my job search. Having put together a good CV along with a portfolio that showcased my skills and experience, I searched websites, magazines and followed up tip-offs from people I knew in the industry. I also maintained a spreadsheet to monitor my applications. I found out about my current job when my lecturer informed me that there was a vacancy in a practice in Liverpool. Once I got to the interview stage, I read about the practice as much as possible, in order to prepare. Jobs in this industry are very hard to secure as you have a lot of competition. It pays to build your contacts with peers, academics in university and professionals in the industry. Just say hello, it never hurts.

I thrive on a challenge and this job is challenging

How relevant is your degree to your job?

An architecture degree is an essential requirement to enter the profession; it is a professional course which trains you for a specific purpose. It is however a well thought of degree in general and can help you to move into many other industries.

What are your main work activities?

My daily activities are varied and include: liaising with clients, consultants and suppliers (via email, in person and on the phone); producing drawings for feasibility, tender or construction; writing reports; commenting and advising on consultants' work; managing project information; and learning new skills to help me in my job.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have gradually built up my skills and experience to the point where I have now been given the responsibility to assist the principal director with managing projects on a day-to-day basis, reporting back to him with progress. My career ambition is to become a chartered architect and continue to progress to the role of project architect and finally a director - either within a company or with my own company.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I thrive on a challenge and this job is challenging. It may sound like a cliché, but every day is different. I may start the day with a phone call with a consultant, then move onto designing a part of a building and ending it with writing a report and having a meeting with my director.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

One of the most challenging parts of the job is when something unexpected happens. You have a new deadline and usually it's less time than you need - so you have to think quickly about how to solve the problem.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Patience, perseverance and passion! I believe you need all of these qualities for this job. I didn't necessarily have these elements when I started my education, but through university and working in practice, I have developed these qualities. It is a very hard path to undertake, but I believe it is a rewarding one, especially when you spend months or even years drawing up a design and finally see the finished product.

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