Insights into the role of an architect

Sixth-form student Harry shares his insights following a week of work experience at Scitech.

Hi, I’m Harry, a Year 12 student currently studying A-levels in Geography, Art and Maths with aspirations of a potential career in architecture in the future. Thanks to a work experience programme arranged by my school and Scitech, I was fortunate enough to spend a week in the Scitech office. I had the opportunity to work amongst many professionals and the chance to learn and develop from their advice and input.

What did I do?

My experience was mainly focused on architecture; however, I had an introduction to many different sectors and disciplines, including project management, electrical engineering, and process engineering. I had meetings with a specialist in each area where they gave an insight into their role and responsibilities. These were always very interesting and gave me an insight into the roles that work alongside architects.

As I mentioned before, the bulk of my week was focused on architecture, and this consisted mainly of two parts. First, I was introduced to the architecture sector through a meeting and presentation given by one of the architects at Scitech. This was then followed by my assigned project, which I worked on through most of the week between my meetings with the other disciplines.

My project work

My project helped me to learn and develop many skills. I was assigned a brief created by one of the Scitech architects, with a fictional client and an area of land to model my project on. I had to research and design a production facility for a company by the name of “Happy Pharmaceuticals” for producing OSD (oral solid dose) tablets. I was also given a more detailed day-by-day checklist which helped me to manage my time on the most important things and helped as a starting point for my research.

I started by researching the location of the land and local restrictions on the construction. I then researched the hygiene standards for the process and the production process, including necessary machines, materials and more. Once most of the research had been done, I then progressed to creating designs for the building, starting with rough hand-drawn sketches before moving on to digital floorplans and diagrams showing the flow of materials and people, which can be seen below:

Diagram showing the floor plan of a fictional production facility designed by a work experience student. The diagram shows the room layout with each room labelled plus diagrams of flow diagrams of people and products.

I enjoyed working on my project and was fascinated by my research into the requirements and standards in the production process for pharmaceutical products. I loved being able to transfer my ideas from my head onto the paper and into my designs and then receive constructive and helpful feedback from several architects who assisted me throughout my project. I also received input from several different disciplines throughout the office and developed my ideas with their advice and guidance in mind, which benefitted my project and design greatly.

Presenting my work

At the end of the week, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to present my project. I was very intimidated to find out that I would be giving my presentation in front of many people including the Managing Director of the company, however, I was excited as I was confident in my work and wanted to share it with those who attended.

The presentation for me was the most challenging but the most rewarding, part of my whole experience as I had little experience in presenting and was nervous. Despite this, I think I did a good job, and I was very relieved by all the positive feedback I received. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to practice my presentation skills in the safe environment provided by Scitech and all who attended. I feel I have left my week there not only with new knowledge and skills but also a new confidence in myself.

Conclusion

My week at Scitech provided numerous valuable insights and experiences, including:

• An insight into the office environment and the cooperation between different sectors and disciplines all working together collectively.
• I was given an important preview of an architectural career and the structure of their tasks, roles and duties, which have been incredibly interesting and crucial for an aspiring architect like myself.
• A beneficial opportunity to develop my speaking and presentation skills which are so important for many forms of employment and education I may choose to pursue in the future.
• A crucial chance to develop time-management and organisational skills. This included project work time, my regularly scheduled discipline insight meetings, as well as the practice of understanding and delivering on a brief within a deadline, which is an incredibly important skill.

I am so grateful to everyone at Scitech for this opportunity, from everyone who helped to organise my visit or shared their knowledge with me. Everyone made me feel welcome in the office and made my visit enjoyable. This experience has exceeded all my expectations and is something I will take with me into the future.

Giving modern-day slavery in the construction industry the red card

The serious message underpinning the Construction Cup ‘24 corporate 5-a-side football tournament.

May 23rd will see 20 teams from within the construction industry take to the pitch at Selhurst Park for a day of football, camaraderie and networking. But underlining the fun is a very serious message. The day’s event will shine a spotlight on the shocking truth that slavery and exploitation still exist within the UK construction industry.

Influencing positive change through sport

The Construction Cup ’24 is partnering with Unseen to harness the power of sport to influence positive change and support Unseen and their work towards a world without modern slavery. We believe that football has an unparalleled power to draw important and uncomfortable issues to the forefront of society. This is proven by the successes of high-profile campaigns, such as the Premier League’s ‘No Room for Racism’ and ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign.

Dave Grant, Managing Director of Scitech, says: “Our engagement with the Construction Cup ’24 has inspired us to bolster the anti-slavery sections within our supply chain prequalification and monitoring arrangements. This isn’t merely about compliance; it’s about taking a stand, ensuring our practices reflect our ethos, and leading by example in our industry.”

Modern slavery in construction

According to figures from Unseen’s Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline in 2023, slavery and exploitation continued to rise among the 2 million people working in construction in the UK. The Unseen Helpline Annual Assessment in 2022 identified construction as the second most reported industry for cases of labour exploitation. In total, the sector saw 141 cases reported in 2022 (a 35% increase compared with 2021) and 543 potential victims identified.

Unseen’s mission is a world without slavery. We hope you will help us to transform the construction industry’s response and that one day we can all be proud to work in an industry free from such abuse and exploitation. Through community outreach services and safehouses, Unseen works alongside survivors of modern slavery to help them rebuild their lives and also runs the UK’s Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline. The charity works with businesses, governments, frontline workers and the public to raise awareness of modern slavery and tackle the issue in every sphere of society.

Confidence to speak out

“It is great that Unseen will be providing education for construction workers on how to spot the signs of modern slavery before the tournament. I’m sure everyone who plays at the Construction Cup ’24 will have been to a site at some point in their career and seen possible signs of modern slavery. To then feel confident enough in your instinct to speak out is no small feat. Education is possibly the best tool we have to give construction workers the confidence to speak out,” says Chris Hayward, Mechanical Engineer at Scitech and organiser of the Construction Cup.

Unseen hopes that one day their work will no longer be needed and that together we can stamp out slavery for good, not only in the construction industry but across the UK. The Construction Cup ’24 Team has a vision that, following the tournament, companies across the construction industry will consider the possibility that modern-day slavery could be present in their workforces or supply chains, and make meaningful policy changes to eradicate this from their future.

To find out more email: [email protected]

Exploring the world of radiopharmaceuticals

Hi, my name is Ollie, and I am currently in my first year of sixth form studying maths, physics and product design a-levels, and would like to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. Recently, I completed a one-week work experience placement at Scitech. For me, this fantastic experience not only helped develop my knowledge in specific areas (e.g. radiopharmaceuticals and radiation) to assist me in my current studies, but also provided an insight into future career options and the workplace.

Meeting the team

Upon arrival, I was greeted by HR Advisor Joanna Finch. I was shown around the office and introduced to many smiling faces, including heads of departments, and managing director Dave Grant. For the week, I was assigned to the Mechanical Engineering Department, working closely with Senior Mechanical Engineer Malcolm Hart. Throughout the week, I completed a project on radiopharmaceuticals and radioisotopes which I presented to several people at the end of the week. I collected information from various sources including past projects of Scitech, allowing me to meet and engage with people from various backgrounds, with specific skill sets and experience.

In addition to the project work, I was given the opportunity to meet members of the various departments, such as architects, process engineers and mechanical engineers. During these introductions I was able to ask questions and develop my knowledge in areas I had not explored prior to the week. These introductions were an amazing part of my work experience and the most useful to aid me in the future.

Virtual tour of radiopharma project site

One of the most memorable moments was a video call with Mechanical Engineering Team Leader Lewis White. As Lewis was working on a project on site in Europe at the time of my placement, I was unable to meet with him, so I was introduced over video call. During this call I was given a virtual tour around the facility, filled with hot cells (containment boxes for radioactive material) and various equipment. This was one of my favourite parts, as I was able to see the equipment I had been researching for the past few days and meet a team of people producing it 1000km away.

It was an interesting and very enjoyable week. Going into the week I was hoping to gain knowledge on mechanical engineering and the workplace. Reflecting on my week, this placement provided me with everything I had hoped for and more. Not only did it meet my expectations but additionally aided me in my current studies, as well as provided information about other disciplines.

Thank you to Scitech for this work experience opportunity, and to everyone involved who accommodated me for the week and provided support and advice to allow me to make the most out of my placement.