Amanda McDermott, a member of the LI’s advisory panel and a Sheffield University alumnus, tells us more about her part in encouraging students to consider the landscape profession as a career.
Part of our ethical obligation as Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) is to further the profession by encouraging a sufficient quantity, and good calibre of, applicants to pursue landscape architecture as a career.
By talking to students, we can encourage them to think about a career in our profession – and even if they don't become landscape architects themselves, they may become clients and co-professionals of the future, with a greater awareness of the contribution landscape architects can bring to so many projects.
I have now become a regular feature at the annual careers day held by my old school, The Crossley Heath School in Halifax. Each year has been an enjoyable experience (even if slightly nerve-wracking with the daunting prospect of holding the attention of a group of teenagers!)
On each occasion, I have held two 30 minute sessions back-to-back, and with about 10-20 students. Landscape Architecture is a very easy thing to make interesting and engaging for that length of time – particularly with the aid of the LI's new 'Be A Landscape Architect' website, PowerPoint template for members to use, and hand-outs. The 'I want to be a Landscape Architect' video is also an incredibly useful tool.
Going back to the school where I grew up has been particularly pleasant as I can reminisce, catch up with old teachers and have a look at how things have changed. The familiarity of the setting also makes the experience less daunting.
Returning to a place I know has made it particularly easy to organise the visit and the annual careers event now is a great, created and regular opportunity.
The point of contact has also meant that I can get in touch with other careers advisors in the local area, enabling me to share the new 'Be A Landscape Architect' website and it has provided an opportunity for getting some printed resources into the school library, including copies of landscape architecture and design magazines, which I would otherwise have recycled.
It has been especially rewarding to know that one student, out of the 100 or so I have spoken with so far, has gone on to study at Sheffield, on the dual honours Architecture and Landscape course that I took myself.
Imagine if all of the 5000+ LI members were to encourage an extra recruit to an accredited course, and introduce landscape architecture to 99 other students. In just a few years' time we could have doubled the numbers of the profession and introduced the value of landscape architecture to nearly half a million politicians, professionals, members of the public, and clients of the future.
If you're interested in the Ambassador for Landscape scheme, read more about how you can get involved.