What are the issues that surround attracting people to a career in Architectural Technology? This is a vital question to consider in the development of the profession and is one that I will address in this post. It is important at this point to define Architectural Technology, so that the perspective taken in this blog is clear before the influences on education and practice are discussed.
Architectural Technology is a creative discipline concerned with the design and realisation of the built environment. The focus of this profession is the development of responsible high-performance practical solutions that respond to architectural need through the implementation of digital and physical technologies. Chartered Architectural Technologists are experts in the development of engineered architectural solutions. They form the link between concept and realisation by designing for production and performance in use, to ensure that buildings can be constructed and that they work as intended. Leaders in the adoption and integration of technologies that facilitate the creation and improvement of the built environment, Chartered Architectural Technologists are highly skilled in the coordination of design and they can manage projects from conception to completion.
It is apparent from the nature and quantity of current job advertisements that there is great demand for Architectural Technologists. However, in 2018 just over 600 people accepted a University place within the UK to study Architectural Technology; by comparison, in the same year there were just under 4000 acceptances to study architecture, circa 3700 for civil engineering, and around 1200 for quantity surveying. This disparity is likely related to a lack of awareness of the discipline. Those wishing to follow a built environment career probably have a perceived understanding of the roles of architect, civil engineer, and quantity surveyor, which may to some extent explain the greater numbers related to these professions. Perhaps some of those taking up architecture were drawn to it for reasons that more closely align with Architectural Technology, but a misconception of the modern role of the architect led them to choose to study that subject.
There is a clear need to attract people to pursue a career in Architectural Technology to meet demand. It is imperative that awareness is raised of Architectural Technology as a potential career path. There are several actions that could assist the achievement of this aim to raise the profile of the discipline. Firstly, Architectural Technologist role models need to be developed and made visible to promote the profession to the public, and practices can contribute to this through the showcasing of their work. Perhaps, the development of a platform to communicate exemplary projects to a mass audience could facilitate this endeavour. Whilst industry awards already celebrate the work of professionals, there are opportunities to expand the reach of this type of exposure. Secondly, Architectural Technology needs to be promoted as a potential career path in schools and colleges. Some university academics and practitioners in industry are already actively engaging with general and further education, but the approach currently taken relies upon self-motivated individuals. A strategy is required for constant and consistent promotion, which is sustainable in the long-term. Thirdly, the wide demographic of those that might be interested in an Architectural Technology career should be engaged. For example, it is increasingly apparent that many seek to develop a second career, and this may present opportunities to attract a diverse range of people. Finally, the routes through education are a key part of attracting people to Architectural Technology and these will be discussed in my next post.