Meet Elizabeth Meikle, former HNC Architectural Technology Student
What was the best part about studying at Ayrshire College?
It was a huge thing to go back to college, as a mature student among loads and loads of teenagers, but the staff were all very encouraging. I wouldn’t have had the courage to travel far away or commit to a long course, but Ayrshire College offered one year courses which had direct entry into the next level either at Ayr or another campus.
Why did you choose Ayrshire College compared to other colleges?
It was close to home and when I went for my interview the lecturer Barry Kerr was so positive and encouraging that I just felt, this is the one for me.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while studying at Ayrshire College?
That I could study and complete the course work and cope with life, home, and family. The lecturers also encouraged me not to stop at the HNC but apply for university which I did.
What is the best advice you would give to someone considering studying the course you studied, or considering applying for a role in your industry?
Start with a one-year course so you will get the results quite quickly, it then gives you the taste for study and learning. Finish the year, if you don’t like that particular course then you can speak to someone at the college, they have loads of experience and will be able to point you in the right direction to a course that is perfect for you.
What are the main attractions of working in your industry?
It’s a place where learning never stops - there is always some new technology or a new project to start so it’s never boring. It’s great to see your ideas transform someone’s house or have a part in constructing a new school or college building that will stand for years.
What opportunities are there for entry level posts in your business? What is the job market like – is it buoyant? Or difficult to recruit?
The construction industry is booming right now despite COVID. There is a real need for qualified people in the industry – you will get a job. If you are a woman, there is even more opportunity. Students are really needed, and people will train you.
What personal qualities and skills are you looking for from apprentices or applicants for jobs in your company?
Architectural Technicians need to be well organised, meticulous – someone who notices very little details and likes to get things right. You need to learn new things daily including new computer skills, so an open attitude and being able to listen and do as you are instructed is important.
What are the current challenges / changes in your sector right now?
Of course COVID and home working are a challenge but hopefully this will end soon. The boom in building alongside the supply chain issues are making material prices skyrocket so that impacts on all our projects.
What are you doing to encourage more girls into employment in your sector?
I personally am telling as many girls as I can to go into a STEM related course at college. You will get the best training in a college learning practical industry related skills. STEM has traditionally been male dominated but the industry now realises women can bring so much into their roles and this influence is a massive plus for any business.
What is next for you?
The next 16 weeks will be manic for me as I am working at Thomson Hunter Associates in Kilmarnock and finishing my fourth year Honours degree in Architectural Technology at Edinburgh Napier. My employer has been fantastic and supported my last year of study and encouraged me all the way. After that I want to hone the skills I’ve learned, to be the best I can be. In this job the more you learn, the more you realise there is to learn. Every day is a school day, and that’s fine by me!
Find out more from our lecturer Barry Kerr here: https://youtu.be/biadNiAZaTA
Check out the HNC Architectural Technology course here: https://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/courses/HNC_Architectural_Technology_with_Sustainability