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My newly-qualified deaf architecture student needs work

My newly-qualified deaf architecture student is looking for work. Do you know of a deaf employment agency who could help or give him advice?

Mr Jeffries – Pastoral Care

Deafauntie says:
This kind of query absolutely maddens me! Why has your student not been looking for support from day one of his course?
What have your hearing students been doing? I am sure they have been networking and talking to people, especially while on placement. Why hasn’t your deaf student been encouraged to do the same? Surely, in the last three years, he must have wondered whether there were any deaf architects and whether he should make contact with them – unless he went to a hearing school and has not yet realised the value of networking with like-minded deaf professionals.
There are also several deaf related architectural and building projects out there (Frank Barnes School in London and Exeter Deaf Academy to name a few). I have just Googled ‘deaf architects’ and there is a lot of information out there so your student needs to get looking and researching, if he hasn’t already done so, of course.
LinkedIn also produced some interesting results. I could go on with suggestions – internships, volunteering on a project that interests him – but I am sure these things have already been covered by your course, alongside building projects in developing countries and so on.
I know three deaf architects and I will ask them to respond to your query and to share their experiences. Of course I don’t know the full story of your student, but please get him to roll up his sleeves and get talking to deaf architects as a first step to looking for a job.
I think we’d all be interested in hearing from him in three or six months’ time to see what progress he has made.

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5 responses to “My newly-qualified deaf architecture student needs work

  1. I know some deaf architects – PM me if you’d like their details. Networking skills are very important and these can be learned and practised. My favourite tip is to learn 10 questions and use these every time you meet someone, to find out more about them, what they do & why, and what you can do for them.

    Tina Lannin

  2. Hello! One of our clients works at an architecture firm, please email me: beth@bee-communications.com so that I can help put this student in touch with her.

  3. An architect (with a hearing loss) has contacted me to pass on this message : “Being an architect is tough. Forget Richard Rogers or Zaha Hadid. Being a deaf / hearing impaired architect is even tougher as there are lots of meetings and lots of fast and furious communication going on in the office which is so easy to miss. Do lots of internships in a variety of places before you even think of applying for a job and try out different working environments so that you can assess which is right for you”.

  4. Hi I am deaf architect and am extremely saddened to see the ‘no change’ trends of architectural students looking for work, no different from I experienced 20 years ago, and I dare to say that today is perhaps worse! However, I was fortunate that I was able to diversity my skills elsewhere.
    Mr Jefferies, you did not comment your student’s level / experience but I can suggest that you ought to encourage your student to look at this website: http://fluidmentoring.org.uk/ (where I provided some mentoring support to a deaf part II student).

    Also there is a facebook group for deaf architects / architectural students internationally which an American and myself founded about last year (now about 75 members).
    The link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/323268368079/

    Feel free to contact me directly, especially if your student is based in London.

    Martin Glover
    roomfactory

  5. Chris Harrowell

    My own “mentors” (although they were not called that way back in the 1970’s) were Michael Sutton and Raymond Thorpe. Two wonderful and charismatic deaf architects who couldn’t have been more different as men and who practised very different forms of architecture. Michael was a sole practitioner and a global traveller. Raymond headed up the architects department of a large metropolitan local authority. Meetings with them took the form of highly enjoyable chats over meals and drinks in places as diverse as Birmingham and the Greek Islands – wherever we happened to meet up at the time.

    Both had these things in common:
    1. They were passionate about architecture
    2. They had made their own way in a hearing world in the days of no communication support or pastoral care services.

    There was no question of either of them referring me to a “Deaf Employment Agency” or finding me a job, just sharing of experiences, general advice and a lot of humorous debate about what makes good architecture. The work and employment came by using the same strategies as everyone else, as Deaf Auntie mentions in her response.

    Deaf Auntie and I were reflecting recently that the employment world now is very different to what it was then. Then you could leave a job on Friday and walk into new one by Monday. Now “jobs” are thinner in the ground and the emphasis today is on skills and flexibility, with people often coming together to form a team to work on a project then moving on when it is completed.

    The beauty of an architectural education is that it provides you with a wide range of transferable skills that can be applcied in Arts, Graphics, Writing, Construction, Theatre, Media, Engineering and Access Consultancy to name but a few. Not everyone who trains as an architect becomes an architect. Some start in architecture then specialise in a particular area, or move into other professions and sometimes back again.

    There are opportunities if you play to your strengths and do what you enjoy most. Martin Glover has commented above that he is happy to be contacted and the same goes for me if this student would like a chat.

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