Week’s work placement leads to year of success for Edinburgh architectural student

Anita Bielatowicz

An Edinburgh architectural student is celebrating her first-year anniversary of working with planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, after initially joining the company for just a five-day work-placement.

Anita Bielatowicz, aged 26, first joined the Edinburgh office of Barton Willmore for a week’s work experience in February 2017 as part of the company’s community benefit pledge linked to its involvement in the 21st Century Homes programme at Pennywell. The development is one of Scotland’s largest and most successful homes-led regeneration projects led by developer Urban Union and contractor Robertson Group.

At the time, Anita was two years into her Architectural Technology course at Edinburgh College, studying at the Granton Campus which borders the wider Pennywell regeneration area. The communities benefit scheme was set up to allow professional companies like Barton Willmore to give something back to the communities they are working with, in the form of local investment or providing employment opportunities.

Anita’s initial placement was so successful that she was quickly offered a part-time contract with Barton Willmore’s growing architectural team, culminating in a year-long placement with the company. Now completing the third year of her degree at Napier University, Anita still finds time to complete a 28-hour working week and finds that the mix of academic study and practical hands-on experience makes for a stimulating if challenging combination.

“I am loving working for Barton Willmore” she said. “Although I probably have a much busier week than the typical third-year student, the ‘real life’ insights gained by working for a busy architectural consultancy is so different from what I am learning at university – and it also provides invaluable experience for future job prospects.

“I have been lucky in that I am involved in a lot of high profile projects involving a wide range of specialist disciplines - from 3D BIM modelling for a range of local projects to assisting with technical drawings and animations for major strategic masterplan development projects.

“I am now getting a much more specialised range of training, learning about sophisticated design technology from the architects here, and applying it to some of the most challenging and impactful projects happening anywhere right now in Scotland.”

Barton Willmore specialises in all aspects of planning, master-planning and design and is currently expanding its architectural team as it continues with ambitious growth places in Scotland. The firm appointed nine new recruits as recently as October 2017 following a number of high profile contract wins.

Head of its architecture team in Scotland, Stuart Bishop, is keen to continue this growth by working with some of the best young industry talent that Scotland has to offer.

“It’s great to see students like Anita joining us on temporary work placement, then growing with the company to become an integral part of our team and hopefully part of our future,” he said.

“It shows that initiatives like the community benefits scheme are more than just good ideas or a tick box exercise used to win contracts. If developed properly, work placements can be an important access route for young local talent to develop their career working with projects that can often have a direct impact on to their own lives, as well as their professional futures.

“Our experience with Anita has encouraged us to develop more work placements along similar lines. It has also strengthened our relationship with Edinburgh College as we now take on students from the college every year, as well as sponsoring a range of academic prizes.”

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