Curtins chief executive officer Rob Melling talks about why they have launced the AJ/Curtins Inspiring graduate prize
Why are you awarding the Inspiring Graduates Prize?
Whether entrepreneurialism is innate or simply a skill that can be learned is a hard argument to settle. However, there is no doubting its importance to a business, and architecture is no exception.
As the economy continues its slow recovery from the downturn, opportunities are opening up for architecture practices and to meet the demand they must recruit new waves of talent to bolster the established ranks.
However, while the lengthy and demanding architectural education produces fantastically imaginative designers, it often fails to instill in young hopefuls the entrepreneurial spirit crucial to making a practice successful.
A recent survey for RIBA Appointments conducted by NBS revealed that four out of five employers thought universities were failing to provide students with the full set of skills needed to practice. The Architects’ Journal, in association with Curtins is searching for the perfect architecture graduate, one who blends razor-sharp business acumen with rigorous design skills.
Why is the award important to you?
Celebrating young talent in the architecture industry resonates strongly with me, as it embodies the inherent spirit here at Curtins of recognising and nurturing the skills of individuals. We place enormous value on helping people to reach their full potential. The launch of our Academy last year strives to do this for our own engineers, and so it feels completely fitting to be able to identify, praise and inspire talent in the wider industry too, through this award.
What was it about Bill Curtin that inspired you?
Bill Curtin’s values, which include recognising and nurturing young talent, are integral to how we run our business and we have all been inspired by Bill in some way. We want to encapsulate those values and share them with future generations. That is our motivation for setting up this award.
What would you like to see demonstrated by the candidates?
The practice of engineering is fundamentally centred around solving problems and achieving solutions on behalf of our clients. This approach is driven by our acute commercial awareness. We are looking for candidates for the prize who have reflected this by displaying evidence of their own business acumen, perhaps by transforming a financially unviable project to a viable one.