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‘Winning the AJ/Curtins Graduate Prize has given me a lot more confidence’

Jayne Rosen and Charlotte Knight explain how their careers have developed since winning the AJ/Curtins Inspiring Graduates prize last year

Jayne Rosen, senior consultant, ‎Tony Meadows Associates 

Aj100 190

Aj100 190

What are your tips for entrants to this year’s competition?

Don’t be daunted by the idea; just go for it. It’s a really confidence-boosting experience. Think about the future ambitions of your practice and how you can enhance those for your skills and interests.

How has winning the AJ/Curtins Inspiring Graduate Prize benefited you?

It’s given me a lot more confidence. It’s been great having so much recognition from colleagues and clients. Some of them saw [I had won the prize] on LinkedIn and congratulated me. It’s given me more responsibility and confidence to follow it through, as well as enter more awards. It’s also opened up opportunities for meeting people, especially Curtins themselves.

How has your career developed in the past year?

I’ve taken on more responsibility for larger projects. I’ve worked on the bidding for infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo line extension. I have taken on the things I had learned while doing smaller bids last year.

The AJ/Curtins Inspiring Graduate Prize experience makes you question things and think about things harder. The whole process makes you reflect more about business and how it makes money.

What advice would you give to aspiring graduates?

Don’t worry about how good your design skills are – it’s all about thinking about the business. At the end of the day, you’ve got to make money. It’s about going out and meeting people – networking.

Charlotte Knight, Part 2 architectural assistant, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 

Aj100 185

Aj100 185

What are your tips for entrants to this year’s competition?

Focus on what the award is for and about how you benefit your practice. It’s about how you fit into the company, and showing skills in key marketing, business efficiency, practice profile and commercial viability.

How has winning the AJ/Curtins Inspiring Graduate Prize benefited you?

I’m still at FCBS, which has helped me a lot in my own identity. It has definitely helped me to develop my business skills, and to take on more responsibility.

How has your career developed in the past year?

I’m doing my Part 3 at the moment and leading two projects as an architectural assistant. I recently carried out a confidential project which involved a feasibility masterplan for a large area in London. I have also completed a £4 million restaurant and bar project as part of the Circle Square development – which Curtins is working on – in Manchester.

What advice would you give to aspiring graduates?

You are in a bubble at university, focusing on design and aesthetic. You’re not connected to the big bad world of industry as a whole. In the last nine months I’ve learnt to appreciate that we are providing a service and have got to be commercially viable.

So, read about what is going on in the industry every day, research it and be aware.

Entry to this year’s AJ/Curtins Inspiring Graduate Prize is open – click here for details

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