Kickstarting careers in our industry

26 February 2024

Regeneration Brainery

After our first full year as sponsors for Regeneration Brainery, we look back at an amazing journey.
In a changing world, we must support equity, diversity and inclusion more widely, both within the influence we have on our industry and within the design work we create.

Regeneration Brainery is an award-winning aspirational academy founded to help bring diversity to the built environment industry. During our partnership we have attended different events and run workshops that shine a light on the role of an architect to help young people find their place in the property industry.
We met our first group of Brainees at the end of 2022 when we hosted a workshop on the first day of their Manchester Bootcamp.
The Bootcamps are a full week of cross industry experience of working in regeneration and the built environment. The students have a jam-packed itinerary of talks, workshops, site visits and networking with the aim to give them a broad insight into opportunities within the sector.

Our Manchester workshop , introduced them to the role of an Architect. It gave them an overview of the different elements of the job role, from sketching and designing to rendering, model making, technical drawings and co-ordinating a design team, before letting them loose on a real life project.

Using the  Masterplan for Stretford Mall as a case study,  we introduced the challenge of designing their own ‘ideal neighbourhood’ on the site itself,. Many of the students were local, and their familiarity with the site gave them a head start in understanding the local communities, current amenities, and potential restrictions of the site.

Manchester Brainery with FCBStudios

Personalities shone as the various priorities of the teams became apparent. Whilst one team promoted sustainability and another focused on ensuring their space was accessible and inclusive for all, others had their business head on, as profitability played a key role in their decision making.  

Layla Osman said of her experience: ‘The Brainery gave me more confidence to network with amazing people. I have met professional architects from FCBStudios and it has confirmed my desire to work within property as an architect.’

We were blown away by the Brainees’ enthusiasm and engagement, so extended the opportunity with three Work Experience placements. We tailored our placements to help each student get the most of their time with us. Layla, who at the time was in the process of applying to Architectural schools, was able to join a project design review with design leads from within the practice. Adam, who was undecided between various roles within the industry, got the opportunity to join a cross-disciplinary design team meeting giving him a view of how the different consultants interact with each other on a project.

Since attending our Bootcamp workshop and a placement in our Manchester office, Charlie has gone on to become an ambassador for Regeneration Brainery and it has been wonderful to meet him time and time again at various events and watch his journey.

“1000% recommend Regeneration Brainery to anyone in education wanting a career in the industry. It has definitely helped me decide my future. I know where I’m going now.” – Charlie Gatter-Gillan.

Regeneration Brainery

Throughout the year with Regeneration Brainery, as well as hosting further workshops in Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, we had the privilege to speak to various Brainees one-to one during their regular coffee networking mornings.  At these, we were met with engaged individuals with a real spirit to succeed. Their questions were well considered: Which Universities offer the right Architectural course for me? What kind of skills will help me thrive in my studies? How should I present my portfolio? Their questions showed the professionalism and commitment of the cohort to achieving their career goals, but we also used them as provocations, to improve our own offer, and improve the way we can impact the next generation of professionals.

Providing a truly valuable two-way partnership, Regeneration Brainery also provided tickets to UKREiiF for two of our younger architectural assistants. Embracing UKREiiFs ethos to welcome more young people into the event, Hannah Graham and Elliott Forster from our Manchester office grabbed the opportunity to attend alongside Regeneration Brainery and gain exposure to this huge industry event.

“Being able to attend UKREiif in 2023 was a fantastic opportunity. As well as learning a great deal through attending lectures and panel discussions around sustainability, social value, and other positive ideas emerging within the built environment, I also got a chance to hear directly from various parties with whom Architects work on a regular basis - such as developers, councils, government bodies and investors. This was something I had not been exposed to much as a relatively recent graduate, and which gave me valuable understanding which helped my transition from academia to practice.” – Elliott Forster.

We are excited to be continuing our partnership with Regeneration Brainery in 2024: Playing our part in inspiring a new generation, being inspired by them in return, and continuing to help our industry to embrace a more inclusive, more representative approach to shaping our built environment.

Leah McNicholas

The Workshops were devised and led by Marianne Howard and Dan McLean. Leah McNicholas and other members of the Manchester office supported the workshops and networking meetings, and welcomed our work experience students into the practice.

Our partnership with Regeneration Brainery is one of a number which we have across the Practice and the country, with the aim to help to open up the architecture and design industry to a more diverse group of people . Read more about our plan of action for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.