Careers Service Occupations

Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Architecture, Planning and Landscape

About

Careers advice

General

Architecture

Planning & urban design

Landscape

Industry news

Architecture

Planning & urban design

Landscape

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Architecture

Planning & urban design

Landscape

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. 

For events for this sector, see Careers Service events and External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Property and Surveying and Civil Engineering, Geomatics and Construction, or see our other Sector-specific pages for more options.

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Architecture

Architect

Architectural technologist

Architectural technician

Planning & urban design

Planning and development surveyor

Town planner

Urban designer

Landscape

Landscape architect

Garden designer

Skills employers look for

  • strong design, drawing and drafting skills
  • a creative approach, paired with an analytical mind and strong problem-solving skills 
  • practical skills with the ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail
  • project management, organisational and planning skills
  • IT skills and a proficiency in computer-aided design software
  • leadership and the ability to work effectively in a team

Gaining Experience

Getting into architecture, planning and landscape is competitive. Work experience is invaluable in developing relevant skills. It also demonstrates your interest and commitment to recruiters.

Architecture

Several large companies offer internships, for example, Aaron Evans Architects and Aukett Swanke. Applications generally open around September, with closing dates as early as October and November.

For more information see:

Post-Part 1 Placements

Completing a Post-Part 1 placement is an important stage in progressing your career as an architect. Some graduates opt to resume their studies on a part-time basis, balancing the completion of their Part 2 with part-time work.  

Finding placements 
Placements are advertised on the following websites:

Architectural vacancies are also advertised in local press and technical journals. Newspapers which North East practices use to advertise vacancies include The Journal, Evening Chronicle, Evening Gazette, and the Northern Echo.

Many practices accept speculative applications for Post-Part 1 placements. Find companies that interest you and get in touch, ideally with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. 

To apply speculatively;

  • Research any employers that interest you. You could search the Architects Registration Board directory of members for registered architects in the area you would like to work in.
  • Send them a tailored CV, cover letter, and portfolio. Find out if they want a hard copy or a digital copy of your portfolio. 
  • Give the practice a couple of weeks to respond to your application. If you do not hear from them, contact them, preferably by telephone, to find out if they’ve had the opportunity to consider your application. Keeping in touch will show that you are interested and can help build a positive impression.

Professional Portfolios
A professional portfolio should be easy for the employer to understand. Ideally, paper-based portfolios should be no bigger than A3 and no longer than 16 pages and digital portfolios should be kept below 1MB if sending by e-mail.

Think about your audience:

  • What type of practice is it?
  • What work do they do?
  • Who are their clients?
  • Do they have a particular design style?

Remember to put the work you consider to be your best towards the front of the portfolio to help make a strong first impression, rather than simply featuring projects in chronological order. Your professional portfolio isn’t a record of everything you’ve ever done at university.

Aim to demonstrate a variety of skills within your portfolio.  Include sketches, CAD drawings, elevations, photographs of models etc.

Interviews

  • Be prepared to talk about what you want to achieve from your placement in terms of both your personal and professional development.  Practices want to know that you are focussed, committed and worth investing in; they also want to know that you have realistic expectations.
  • Placement interviews often have a more informal or conversational feel; the people interviewing you want to put you ease and get to know you.  Do try and relax during interview, but take care to remain professional. 
  • Take a copy of your portfolio. If you’re taking a digital portfolio, make sure facilities will be available to view it.  If you’re taking a physical portfolio, make sure it’s a manageable and appropriate size, both in terms of dimensions and length.

Overseas opportunities
Securing a placement overseas can count towards your Post-Part 1 professional experience, on the condition that you are supervised by a registered architect. 

If you want to look for placements outside of Europe, you will have to consider the visa regulations for the country you would like to work in. Some employers or work placement providers may arrange, or help you to arrange, your visa. If you are responsible for arranging your own visa, start by checking out the information on Prospects country profiles, but for the most up to date information visit the embassy or consulate website for the country in question.

Finding international practices

International placement providers:

  • IAESTE – international work experience for architectural students
  • GoAbroad.com – sometimes advertise architecture internships
  • Finding work experience – links to additional international work experience providers

Planning & urban design

Getting into town planning is competitive. Relevant ways of getting experience could include:

  • internships with large companies, for example, Savills and DHA (openings around September)
  • planning assistant jobs, which allow you to gain extensive experience but are competitive
  • administrative jobs in planning departments, advertised on sites such as Local Government Jobs or jobsgopublic
  • volunteering for organisations such as Planning Aid England where opportunities include consultancy and community engagement

RTPI offer guidance on finding work placements in the UK. Although aimed at international trainee planners, the advice on approaching planning professionals is useful.

Finding companies

Find companies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Landscape

Volunteering with non-profit environment and landscape organisations can help you to develop relevant skills. For example, Groundwork and Green Spaces for People have projects to get involved in. 

Finding companies

Speculative applications are commonly used to gain landscape architecture experience. Search for government departments, traders and non-profit organisations to contact using the following resources:

Specialist recruitment agencies

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions.

Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and research employers for speculative applications.

Vacancy sites

General

Graduate & entry level jobs

Public sector jobs

Opportunities for employment within property and construction are commonplace within the public sector. Use the following specialist websites to help you look for opportunities in this area:

Architecture

Also see vacancy sources listed under 'general'.

Landscape

Also see vacancy sources listed under 'architecture' and 'general'.

Planning & urban design

Also see vacancy sources listed under 'architecture' and 'general'.

Specialist recruitment agencies

Finding companies

Find companies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Architecture

Landscape

Planning & urban design

See Researching Employers for more information on finding organisations.

Study & training

Entrance into these sectors typically requires a university degree or professional qualification.

Architecture

To become a qualified architect it generally takes seven years of study and training. The standard route is:

  • Part 1: a BA or BSc-approved degree in architecture generally completed in three years
  • Stage 1 practical experience: 12 months recorded practical experience under a qualified architect or construction specialist
  • Part 2: a BArch, Diploma or MArch degree generally completed in two years
  • Stage 2 practical experience: another 12 months recorded practical experience. This makes up 24 months needed for part 3.
  • Part 3: a final qualifying examination in professional practice and management

Once you've completed all parts, you can register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

For further information see:

Funding

Graduates enrolling on RIBA accredited Part 2 courses are usually classed as ‘continuing students’ and remain eligible for student finance, including grants and loans, to support their studies.

Students who started their Part 1 course before 2012 will be subject to maximum tuition fees and fee loans of £3,465 for the Part-2 course, even if they switch to a different institution.

The exceptions to this are if you:

  • change your mode of study (i.e. from full-time to part-time)
  • move outside of the UK for study
  • take more than a 3-academic years break between Parts 1 and 2

Students who started their Part-1 course after 2012 will be subject to maximum tuition fees and fee loans of £9,000 for the Part-2 course, even if they switch to a different institution.

RIBA have detailed information about funding on their website, including information on financial help.

The UKCISA website provides comprehensive information on fees, funding and student support for international students in the UK.

The institution you are applying to should be able to provide you with more information about any support or funding you may be eligible for.  The departments most likely to be able to offer advice related to funding are admissions, student finance or the relevant school office.

Landscape

To become a qualified landscape architect, you will need to complete a degree accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI). The degree takes four years.

If you have a degree that isn’t accredited, you can complete a LI postgraduate conversion course, taking up to two years to complete. The entry requirements for a conversion course can vary depending on the university. Check with each university to find out.  

For further information see Be a Landscape Architect careers website from the LI. This includes information on accredited courses.

Planning & urban design

For most careers in town planning and urban design, you will need a qualification accredited by the RTPI.

See Further Study for more information on finding, funding and applying for courses or come and talk to an adviser. No appointment is needed.  

Case Studies

Employers have their own criteria when recruiting. Here you will find case studies from a range of employers about what they like to see in application forms, portfolios and interviews

Architecture

Planning

Landscape