The Queensland Education Committee is a uniquely positioned collaboration between the architectural profession, academics and students of architecture. Our committee consists of delegates from each Queensland School of Architecture, Practicing Architects, EmAGN and SONA representatives. We contribute directly to Institute policy on educational matters and topics including research, course recognition and accreditation, competency standards and the registration process for architects.
In the wake of the pandemic, the profession and the universities will require opportunities of direct economic stimulus and strategic support. Perhaps the most vulnerable subgroup of architecture professionals in coming years are those transitioning from universities into the profession.
We are collaborating with SONA and EmAGN to establish a realistic understanding of work opportunities and work conditions for students and graduates in the architecture profession. Our committee has encouraged SONA to collect information regarding their experience during the pandemic and current student sentiment. This information has been shared directly with Schools of Architecture throughout Australia.
Two current areas of research and action for our committee are,
- Work Experience Opportunities for Students and Graduates, and
- The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia’s 2020 Review of the National Standard of Competency for Architects.
WORK EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS AND GRADUATES
A common sentiment from employees in the industry is that students are not ‘work ready’ when they complete university. However, learning does not end at University; it happens in practice. The ‘bridge’ between University and Registration can be misunderstood and overlooked in the industry.
As a Committee we are very interested in addressing the long standing issue of student and graduate work conditions by clarifying the expectations of both employers and employees. Paid Work and Internship guides for students can inform them about rights and responsibilities when starting out working in practices.
We consider that employers also need to be reminded of their obligations to teach and mentor in the work place. As a professional obligation, employers should take responsibility for their role in the education of their graduates. Mentoring and real practice experience opportunities are required in the workplace, to educate, train and support the next generation of architects.
AACA NSCA REVIEW PAPER
The AACA, in collaboration with all Universities and stakeholder organisations, have researched & prepared the article Architectural Education & the Profession in Australia & New Zealand, 2019. ‘Key findings’ of the article provide a meaningful overview (pre-pandemic) of academic, practice and student perspectives, including:
Technological change, ethics, social responsibility considered important drivers of future curriculum; Shared aspiration of both academics and practicing architects to better expose practice to students; Enthusiasm, willingness to learn, collaboration, and teamwork the key graduate employment qualities considered by employers.
In 2020 the AACA commenced a project to review the National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA). The first stage of this process was a survey for the Architecture profession to comment on whether the current NSCA broadly reflects the role of an architect. In part, the survey asked whether the NSCA should change its focus in terms of the following areas:
Diversity of modes of Practice; Contract Administration; Building Standards and Regulation; Climate Change and environmental issues; Indigenous perspectives; Procurement; Research; Ethics in the Practice of Architecture,
The results of the survey can be found here.
The second stage of the AACA NSCA Review process, involving stakeholder input, is now underway. The Queensland Education Committee has contributed to the Institute’s collaborative response at both State and National level.
Significant topics addressed relate to a broad range of equity and inclusion issues, along with a focus on Environmentally Sustainable Design, and considerations of First Nation knowledge and perspectives in our education and profession.
Our aim is to be aspirational and far-sighted in our ambition for the architectural profession. The role of an architect should be at the forefront of innovation, directing change rather than being reactionary. We need to confidently position ourselves to lead as designers and place makers within the new and varied framework of these rapidly changing times.
Lisa Moore RAIA
Queensland Education Committee Chair
Queensland Chapter Councillor