Simon is an architect and runs his own firm, Lignum Designs, near Plymouth. He is the Enterprise Adviser for Sir John Hunt Community Sports College.
“At age 11, my dad suggested that I could be an architect because I was really keen on drawing and I thought it sounded good. I’m lucky to have known from an early age what I wanted to do, but lots of people have a long and winding road to their choice of career and I thought there has to be a better way.
Architecture is a balance between art and science. If you want to study architecture it’s good to be aware that different courses will have different focuses. Some Universities are very technical, some are arty and some are more sculptural than architectural. The best thing you can do is to know yourself and where you fall on that scale so that you can find the right course for you. Lots of students drop out because they chose the wrong course for them.
Am I an arty person or technical drawing person? I am sat somewhere in the middle!
I used to tutor architecture students at the University of Plymouth and when I stopped doing this, I was approached about the Enterprise Adviser role. I enjoy getting out of the office and being able to bring my thoughts about the working world into the school.
Initially, I gave them lots of contacts to get employers engaged with the school, using my business contacts in the construction industry and also clients I’d worked with, which was nice. We did a presentation to the students about construction, demonstrating the breadth of opportunity in the industry – showing over 200 trades and 100 different jobs in design! We also organised a site visit to a development site. The students got to visit four times over the year so that they could see the progress and see a project grow in real life.
It’s amazing how few encounters it takes to have a positive impact on a young person. I want as many people to get the benefit as possible and if employers want the best out of the future generation, they can help with that by getting involved!”