Live briefs and invaluable work experience is helping students at Cleveland College of Art & Design build their portfolios, gain entry to some of the country’s best universities and find their best career options.
Niven Architects director Siobhan McMahon spent the day at CCAD’s Middlesbrough campus briefing btec interior, architecture and product design students on their latest project.
Last year she set them the task of designing a building society headquarters which this year they will have to develop into a 3D design.
Students Lois Goddard-Langstone and Matthew Joyce also got the chance to spend a week in Niven’s Darlington headquarters working with established architects on a variety of live briefs.
“This certainly helped me to decide to study architecture at university,” said Darlington-born Lois, 18, of Whitby.
“It was brilliant experience because there is just so much you can do and it has helped me realise what I would like to do in the future.”
Matthew, 17, of Carlton-in-Cleveland, added: “It was amazing being thrown in at the deep end but seeing how much confidence the architects had in us really boosted our self-esteem.”
The students are able to use industry standard equipment with the support of tutors who have experience of producing internationally renowned designers. Alumni from the course, which has just celebrated its 30th birthday, have gone on to become things such as luxury yacht builders, architects, exhibition designers, set designers, product designers and there is even an ex student who trains the designers of Ikea.
Siobhan said: “Their portfolios are some of the best I have ever seen and they are obviously so far ahead of the game, which will be a massive advantage when they come to apply for university.
“They understand things I only learnt about at university and are already working in an environment conducive with effective design.”
CCAD tutor Martyn Featherstone added: “The whole course is designed to give students a feel for the variety of roles out there in design.
“Working with Niven Architects really helps them appreciate the design process including meeting deadlines and working accurately to a professional brief.”