The G.R.A.D. Programme: an alternative form of practice

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The Graduate Retention And Development (G.R.A.D.) Programme was a response to the difficulty which many architecture graduates were having in securing relevant work. It was conceived as a means to: - •help unemployed architecture graduates, and graduates from other built environment disciplines, into work, •benefit the region by identifying problems that might have design-based solution, • apply the skills and enthusiasm of the participants (known as GRADs) to speculative and real projects, and •develop opportunities leading to funded work for either the GRADs or for local practitioners. The GRADs are able to work with real clients, gaining relevant experience and knowledge, so improving their portfolios and CVs. The GRADs can commit to the Programme the time they chose and can leave at any point should an employment opportunity arise. Anecdotally, GRADs attending job interviews often express the view that more interest is shown in the work undertaken for the Programme than in their degree portfolio. “Live projects” provide GRADs with experiences typically they might not have until post-Part II, including; meeting with clients, developing and understanding the project brief, communicating effectively with clients and reporting on the work undertaken, managing a team of people, understanding their motivation and group dynamics. Twenty hours per week certified time spent working for the Programme has been recognised as contributing up to 3 months of the participants’ Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR) by Northumbria, Newcastle, Leeds Metropolitan and Huddersfield Universities. This paper will describe some of the challenges faced by the Programme since starting in January 2010. These include the changing relationship of the Programme to local practices and the schools of architecture; managing the participants involvement, their motivation, expectations and pastoral needs; finding and managing the workload and maintaining a professional output with voluntary, part time and inexperienced participants.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
EventLive Projects Pedagogy International Symposium - Oxford Brookes University
Duration: 1 May 2012 → …


ConferenceLive Projects Pedagogy International Symposium
Period1/05/12 → …


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