I want to be campaign: one year on
Launched in May 2008 with the help of CABE Space, it aimed to arrest the decline in new graduates entering into the profession and address the long-term shortage of supply of landscape architects in the UK.The campaign aims to convey to people of all ages and backgrounds how a degree in landscape architecture is a fascinating, fun, creative and varied course that can be studied at a range of outstanding institutions and leads to a similarly stimulating job addressing the challenges facing 21st century society.
In its first 12 months the new careers website has received more than 16,000 unique users while the number of students commencing LI accredited degrees rose by 26 per cent between 2007 and 2008.
More than 10,000 HE students have been contacted by email and several thousand more have discussed landscape architecture with the LI at careers fairs across the UK.
Award-winning Manchester Metropolitan university student Hannah Smith explains why she feels the campaign is important: “I think the campaign is a really good way to get 16-18 year olds into landscape architecture. The subject is completely unknown to most A-level students, and the students who come to UCAS fairs are generally quite unsure about where to go next, making the events a great opportunity to tell them about landscape architecture.”
The membership of the LI has been involved at every stage of the campaign; from students helping with UCAS careers fairs, academics offering guidance to potential students and running open days to chartered members from practices like Whitelaw Turkington and Arup getting involved in inner city schools events.
The secretariat has built relationships with external careers bodies as varied as AGCAS, Into University and LANTRA.
CABE Space has proved to be the campaign’s most important partner providing it with valuable financial and political backing. Nicole Collomb, head of Public Space Management & Best Practice, explains CABE Space’s commitment to the campaign: “Ensuring we have the right skills and experience to plan, design and manage our public spaces is critical to making places that work. In the face of a changing climate and greater pressure on our parks and green spaces to perform multiple functions from sustainable drainage to natural play space, the importance of a strong profession of landscape architects, managers and scientists has never been greater. “CABE Space is therefore supporting the ‘I want to be a landscape architect’ campaign to help achieve this as part of a wider strategy, called ‘Skills to grow’ aimed at improving skills right across the green space sector.”
Staff have been extremely particular in identifying target areas; from marketing and communications producing new careers materials to education and membership responding to the credit crunch by attending career changers fairs such as One Life Live.
As Robert Holden, Postgraduate programme leader at the University of Greenwich and former Secretary General EFLA, points out: “there’s a long-term shortage of supply of landscape architects in the UK. There is one chartered landscape architect for every 19,875 of the UK population. Compare [that to] Germany’s 6,100 state registered landscape architects or 1: 13,453.
“The current ‘I want to be a landscape architect’ campaign is at a beginning, 16,300 users in its first year: this will grow. It’s an excellent initiative with up to 2,500 visitors per month [to the website] in the peak school applications period.”Over the next year, the LI hopes to develop the campaign further by strengthening links with its partners, producing more materials to support the careers work of branches and practices and continue to build on the successes of the previous year.
More than 10,000 HE students have been contacted by email and several thousand more have discussed landscape architecture with the LI at careers fairs across the UK