Q&A with Dorrell Gayle-Menzie, Level 7 Architectural Apprentice

Q&A with Dorrell Gayle-Menzie, Level 7 Architectural Apprentice

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Dorrell Gayle-Menzie joined us as Architectural Apprentice in September 2021. Here he discusses why he chose the apprenticeship route, and the opportunities and challenges associated with it.


Why did you chose the apprenticeship route?

I chose the apprenticeship route because, after studying solely in university for my part 1, I discovered a significant knowledge gap between what I had learned in an academic setting, and what was expected of me in industry. I wanted to avoid this hindrance following my part 2 by learning on the job while studying. I also felt I’d better absorb knowledge in an environment where I am always applying what I learn in real life scenarios. Lastly I wanted to avoid the expenses associated with studying for my part 2 full time, this route has really helped with that.


Why Scott Brownrigg?

As one of the biggest architectural practices in the UK, I wanted to surround myself with the expertise of those responsible for taking Scott Brownrigg to such great heights. As one of the trailblazer companies for the Architecture Apprenticeship scheme, Scott Brownrigg offers a nurturing environment, and one that I can really grow within.


How are you finding working in a live studio environment and balancing university work?

Working in a live studio environment alongside university has been both stimulating and challenging. University work and practice work both have their own set deadlines that naturally can sometime overlap, which can be a headache. However proactive and constant communication of my workloads with my Project Leads and Line Manager, allows plans to be made to work around these clashes. I have a very supportive Manager and a Mentor who advises on how to manage both workloads.


What are you particularly enjoying?

I simply enjoy the fact that I’m in an architectural practice, working on real projects. Personal situations extended my time at university and I spent two years applying through the pandemic for a job. This experience has really allowed me to cherish the opportunity I have been given. Each day I’m in the studio, I’m learning something new. Site visits, team meetings, the studio culture, and the projects themselves all contribute to this learning process.


What challenges have you faced?

My skill level was one of the biggest challenges. I hadn’t had any professional industry experience prior to beginning my part 2, whilst others usually take a year out in industry. As my first job I essentially began a part 2 university course, with the industry knowledge of a new part 1. I feel therefore that my learning curve has been much steeper than the average new joiner at this level. The balancing of the university and practice workloads has also been challenging at times.


What advice can you give to others considering this route to becoming an architect?

Organise your workload and your time. The university workload does not decrease because you are an Apprentice. Therefore carefully consider the locations of both the academic institution and the architectural practice that you apply to as, in the case of London South Bank University who have classes one day per week, you will need to work in the evenings to achieve the necessary work outputs.


Find out more about our Architecture Apprenticeships here

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