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Chantelle Holt

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Endless opportunities at university and beyond

Chantelle Holt, BA (Hons) Architecture, Oxford Brookes University

Chantelle Holt

I don’t want it to sound like a sob story or anything but I grew up on a council estate so there weren’t many opportunities.  Probably the most important thing to happen to me was to get a place at the nearby technology college – one of the first academies. It meant I had the pick of universities to choose from because I got really good grades.  I went to Oxford Brookes because its Architecture Course has such a high standing in the industry. Many of the tutors are practising architects and we were regularly visited by industry ‘gurus’.

I was so hyped up when I got to university.  I was looking forward to joining lots of societies, to learn and to grow in lots of different ways. I would tell anyone going to university to go to all the fresher’s stalls and keep an eye on the university website because there is loads of stuff you can get involved with.  If there is something you want to do, it is probably out there.

Architecture is one of most intensive courses alongside medicine, so you are under constant time-pressure. It’s a big change from school in that way – a kind of baptism of fire in terms of time management. But saying that I was doing a lot – I was also running a newspaper, making a whole series of films and working part-time.  So it is probably no surprise that time was such a hot commodity.

It is great finding out that the techniques and creative approach to doing things that you learned at university can be applied at work.  It has been very exciting seeing my designs become reality!

There is so much to do if you are willing to put yourself forward and give it a go.  I particularly liked taking the independent study modules as you could complete your own research and develop ideas in the areas you were interested in.  Through one of these I applied for some research funding from the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research.  You could apply for funding to do research and have articles published in their journal.  I was awarded £2000 to develop some work focussing on different film techniques used to represent architecture.

Oxford Brookes University is a leading UK provider of CPD for teaching, healthcare and architectural professions

I’ve had two jobs since I graduated as part of the professionally accredited placement year you need to qualify.  Both have been with firms I did optional work experience with while I was still at university.  The first was with a firm called Green Planning Solutions and my current firm is BHM Architects – they specialise in school design. It is great finding out that the techniques and creative approach to doing things that you learned at university can be applied at work.  It has been very exciting seeing my designs become reality!

The main thing I have learned is to be a go-getter; there are an amazing number of opportunities out there you just have to jump on them!

Whatever happens in my future career I know I have had a great grounding – I have gained so many skills that I can use in different ways.  The main thing I have learned is to be a go-getter; there are an amazing number of opportunities out there you just have to jump on them!

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