For a small country, Scotland has an almost disproportionately large architecture sector.
More than 10% of the UK’s 90,000 architecture jobs are north of the border — around 8.5% of jobs in the creative industries as a whole. There’s no specific development plan for Scotland’s architectural businesses, but there is a commitment from the Scottish Government to support the wider creative sector. It’s been identified as a key growth area, and architecture has a major role to play in that growth.
The big picture
There are around 10,000 jobs in the Scottish architecture sector. The figure accounts for all jobs related to architecture, which include among others technicians and technologists, surveyors, interior and landscape designers and town planners.
Between 2008 and 2014 there was year-on-year growth for architectural businesses. To date, we’re not seeing any significant change, however the result of the 2016 EU referendum caused some serious concerns.
Since June 2016, 60% of architects report that they’ve seen European projects delayed, cancelled or scaled back. At the same time, they see Brexit as an excellent opportunity to reform the UK’s procurement system, which has long been identified as a major obstacle, especially for smaller firms.
Despite Brexit concerns, the latest figures from the Scottish Government (Q3 2016) show the creative industries continuing to grow, with year on year increases that outperform the economy as a whole.
Working in architecture
A degree in architecture naturally lends itself to positions as an architect, architectural technologist or interior/spatial designer. It’s also useful for careers in surveying or in buildings inspection or conservation. You could also use the skills you’ve obtained as a structural engineer or town planner, or use your design knowledge as a landscape architect or production designer in film, television or theatre.
Developing your skills
The main professional bodies for architecture — the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) — not only provide professional accreditation schemes. They also offer a variety of events, workshops, lectures and seminars across the country, all of which give you the opportunity to develop your professional skills.
Both organise, sponsor and endorse continuous professional development (CPD) events across the country. They deliver workshops, seminars, lectures and short courses in a range of subjects, from plumbing and solar panelling to procurement and planning legislation. And they run events and exhibitions that give you the chance to keep up with developments in your industry, and learn from your peers.
Funding and support
If you’re at the beginning of your architectural career, you may be eligible for support from The Fenton Trust. It provides grant funding for groups, companies, institutions or individuals making a contribution to the artistic and cultural life of the UK through drama, painting, sculpture, ballet, music, poetry and architecture. Your application must be project-based — funding will not be awarded for professional training.
Individuals or companies with ideas for projects that could preserve, protect or revitalise an important heritage monument, building or space may qualify for help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. There’s a range of grant programmes, offering anything from £3,000 to £5 million.
If you’re looking for more generic funding to support business growth or export activities, it’s worth contacting Scottish Enterprise for information and advice.
If you’d like to know more
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