Channelling his boyhood Lego-building skills, Y13 student Solomon Wilkinson is looking forward kicking off a creative career as an architect.
Solomon, who has been a student at UTC Reading since Year 10, is off to Plymouth University, where he will spend three years getting his degree. But that’s just the start of a seven-year qualification! He then must complete a year of practical work experience, a further two years at university gaining his Master of Architecture, a further year of practical training before taking his final qualifying exam.
All being well, he will be 25 when fully qualified! Does that daunt him?
“A bit,” he says. “At the moment I’m just looking forward to starting the course – it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was about 11.”
So he was always into building things?
“Yes, at home we had a computer program that we could use to make random buildings and I loved it. And then I also had a lot of Lego – in fact I think it all started from there!”
Knowing there was more to it than Lego, Solomon transferred to UTC Reading in Year 10, initially attracted to the school’s tech courses.
“It was the 3D Art and Design GCSE – that was the main driving factor for me. But having started down the Computer Science route, I realised that it wasn’t actually for me and moved to Engineering – the school were supportive with that move.
“I’m now studying Architecture, Maths and Engineering and I think that’s the perfect combination for what I want to do.”
For his university application, Solomon had to submit a portfolio the work he’d done that specifically links to architecture.
“I sent over CAD models, drawings, and just research in general, and I think that’s what caught their attention to me. Architecture is one of the more popular courses, so I feel happy to have got a place.”
Solomon is looking forward to starting in September, when his first year will cover things like hand-drawn design, cardboard modelling, as well as lots of research of historic projects. The second year will look more at CAD software, which Solomon says: “I’m probably looking forward to the most because I’m quite experienced with that. And then third year’s kind of just bringing everything together and refining my skills.”
As well as his school studies, Solomon keeps up to date with what’s happening in the world of architecture – a good tip he says for whatever industry you’re interested in.
“There are some good newsletters I subscribe to, like ArchDaily, and Instagram accounts that show off new projects.”
As for his preferred architecture style, Solomon says he is currently interested in those who are transforming historic buildings into modern buildings. He’s also a big fan of geometric shapes – “Because they are a lot more functional than curvilinear, just for more space and it’s just more practical.”
Does he think his UTC education has given him a boost on his career path?
“Definitely. The choices of BTECs give you more scope to follow what you enjoy, and the teachers are knowledgeable. Also, the technology here – it’s way better and used way more than in my old school. It’s more practical I’d say for the real world, as we’re all working digitally now.”
We wish Solomon every success with his studies and look forward to seeing (and living in) the buildings he designs in the future!