JRA Work Experience Programme

27th October 2023

JRA Work Experience Programme

JRA is delighted to share with you the work of our 2023 work experience students. This year the students were mentored by architect Ayaz Shah.


About the Programme:

The JRA Work Experience Programme is a 1-week work experience programme designed for secondary school and college students (Year 10-13) who are interested in getting valuable insight into the architecture profession prior to deciding on the career path they wish to take. As a practice we root for home-grown talent, and we have launched the programme in order to invest in the young people of our community and reach a diverse group of youth to provide an awareness into the architecture profession.

The students have had the opportunity to learn about the profession, Design Teams in construction projects, the day-to-day activities of an architect, and key skills that designers use to successfully execute project briefs and client presentations.

The students were briefly informed of legislative and building regulation requirements, however, they were not expected to adhere to any such requirements for their project.


 2023 Brief:

All students were provided with a hypothetical scenario. In this scenario, the students were considered to be sole practitioners who have been appointed to design an outbuilding in the rear garden of a semi-detached property located in North-West London.


 The Programme:

The programme is designed to ensure the mentor guides the students at each stage of design development by working collaboratively. The itinerary for the week was divided into 5 days, which ensured the students engage with research, conceptual design, developed design, and project presentations.

Day 1: Research

The student was tasked to carry out online research into precedents that were of interest. The precedent research consisted of examples for materials to be used, interior and exterior finishes, textures, forms, colours, landscape design, and much more.

Day 2: Concept Design

The students were able to use the precedent research to design a concept for the outbuilding, which incorporated their individual interests of design themes. The students were required to only use hand drawings for the conceptual design. All students were taught orthographic and isometric drawing techniques to develop their knowledge and understanding of reading architectural drawings.

Day 3: Developed Design

The students were introduced to architectural 3D modeling. The basics of SketchUp software were taught to the students so that they can further develop the design and produce isometric and Orthographic CAD drawings.

Day 4: Presentation & Site visits

A key part of the programme is to ensure the students get an overview of the day-to-day activities of an architect. As a result, day 4 was designed to teach the basics of Adobe InDesign software for collating the work carried out into a presentation file and a visit was also arranged with the CMT team to attend a construction site for snagging.

Day 5: Crit and Route to Qualification

The final day of the programme consisted of assisting the students in preparing to present their project to the Practice Manager and a Project Director. The students were also given an introduction to the route to qualification so that they can consider the options available for students to qualify as an architect in the UK, if they continue with architecture as a career path.



My experience at John Robertson Architects was wonderful and very knowledgeable as I learnt a lot in my time here and I am very sure that I will leave here having a clearer understanding of architecture and how I may go forward in pursuing it. I have also improved a great deal in my drawing and designing skills in all aspects. John Robertson Architects has not just taught me about architecture it also taught me how to work independently in some situations and how to work together in other situations. It has also taught me key skills such as presenting and 3D designing. One thing I enjoyed most was the site visit to Daniel House as it gave me a completely new perspective on the design process and what they can result in. If I had to say something I didn’t enjoy I would say nothing at all as I enjoyed every minute I spent here and the whole staff were very kind and welcoming and they all made it clear to me that if I needed something I could just ask or message. Overall, I very much enjoyed my week here and I will be sure to pursue architecture in the future and I hope I may. be able to work back here again in a few years’ time” – Irfan Murshed


Prior to this work experience I only knew some parts of architecture to very little extent having been taught in DT. I had limited experience in SketchUp and mediocre sketching skills having not focused on my creative side for very long after my GCSE’s. In addition, I had very basic knowledge in design and structure. Having a close family member as an architect I had lots of exposure to the field but never went into detail. I wanted to gain a detailed view on how an architect worked and whether I would want to take this path in my future. I aimed to be timely and punctual and Improve on my sketching/ drawing skills. A few things that I have achieved or improved on in my Week at JRA are my sketching skills (better visualisation of areas and objects from different perspectives), my 3D modelling using specifically sketch up web version, and my time management skills (learning to use Microsoft teams etc). Overall, my time at JRA was well spent and very enjoyable. I found the team very friendly and helpful having taken me through the course thoroughly. One thing I could suggest which I personally think might be important to teach are rules and regulations as well as other policies that architects need to follow. Showing the balance between design and regulation. I would like to thank you for providing me with work experience. I will definitely have to convince my parents now.” – Aayush Gulhane