My interest in architecture first developed at a very young age when I was fascinated by all forms of architectural structures. I chose my A Level subjects with this goal in mind. While I was at College, I actively researched apprenticeships over the more traditional university route, not only because of the faster timeline to qualification, but also to avoid the considerable debt accumulating from what would ordinarily be about seven to eight years of study.

I’ve learnt about 90% of what I know from being in the workplace supporting the development of real-life projects, but I formalise my learning studying at London South Bank University. Two years into my work at Clerkenwell-based Apt London I’ve already worked on an exciting mix of commercial and high-end residential projects.

Just one of the projects I’m working on is Hill House in London, where we’re retaining almost 60% of the existing building’s structure while creating a sustainable and healthy workplace with access to landscaped terraces at every level. There will even be a vertical forest that climbs up the building, hosting wildlife and improving biodiversity.

Going into my apprenticeship, I certainly didn’t know about software packages such as Revit, Rhino, AutoCAD and all the Adobe software that you need to master, but as an apprentice you’re there to learn and get support from your colleagues. We also have weekly apprentice mentoring to pin up your university work and get feedback on it. I’ve also had to get comfortable presenting to upwards of 200 people as part of what’s called a “Crit” – essentially how architects critique and give feedback on a live project.

In terms of applying for an apprenticeship, I’d say what matters is having an eye-catching portfolio that’s clear, concise and demonstrates that you can communicate well through drawings and diagrams with limited words. I also backed this up with work experience I’d organised for myself at both an architectural practice and an engineering company. Communicating and working well in a team are important in my daily work and there are touchpoints with Engineering and Law. Companies often like to see that you do also have outside interests and hobbies to help relieve any stress when working on big deadlines.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows of course – there are late nights to meet critical project deadlines from time-to-time, but I have great colleagues and Apt plan brilliant social events which more than make up for it!

It can be a long time until you see your planning realised so you need to have patience to see a building you’ve worked on going up. In the future, I hope to see a building I helped worked on be part of London’s Skyline.

Angellyca Allan

Reigate College: 2019-2021

Higher Education: Currently studying Architecture, London South Bank University

Currently: Degree Apprentice (L6), Apt London

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