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As the academic year draws to an end, which skills give students the best opportunities in the employment market?

According to Kate Cooke of Adrem Recruitment, the demand for computer skills is almost universal.

Although Adrem will take on candidates who are not computer literate, it is careful to warn them that their chances of work - especially short-term contracts - are slim.

Smaller practices tend to use MiniCAD, while the big players such as Foster and Partners and the Richard Rogers Partnership look for architects with microstation experience.

Three-dimensional rendering and programming are less in demand as most presentation work is done out-of-house or by an inhouse division of graphic designers.

Those who have not developed computer skills at college may find it difficult to catch up, as emplyers tend to be wary of skills learnt on external training courses.

Architectural technicians can get by without computer training as a good knowledge of building construction is seen as more valuable than computer skills. The same goes for those with very specific expertise. Ushida Findlay Architects, which is currently advertising for a senior architect for its London-based office, is not fussy about computer knowledge, but does require an ability to identify developing markets, and a working knowledge of Japanese.

Multimedia whiz kids may find that they have more skills than they can use in practice, and that they will have to join an architectural branding and design company such as Imagination if they want to make the most of their talents.

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