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Architect apprentice has designs on career progression

9th February 2023

Degree Apprenticeship student Laura McClorey is studying at Northumbria University, while working for leading international design studio FaulknerBrowns Architects in Newcastle.

The 31-year-old from Belfast says the degree apprenticeship route has allowed her to stay in her chosen profession.

Laura was recently named among the winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects awards 2022 for her proposed design of the Belfast Stories atrium – an art-deco building and flagship regeneration project in Northern Ireland. She moved to Newcastle in 2015 to join FaulknerBrowns and started the Architect Degree Apprenticeship at Northumbria in 2019.

She said: “A degree apprenticeship is intensive and requires commitment, but I would advocate it to anyone because it is the perfect way to learn by doing, and in my case being supported along the way by great mentors. The degree course at Northumbria and the professional qualifications it includes are ideal for my career progression. And being able to work through the technical challenges of my academic projects with qualified architects here at FaulknerBrowns has also been fantastic.

“On a personal level, taking a degree apprenticeship at Northumbria is making me a more confident and competent professional. It also means I can afford to study for my qualifications while continuing to work for an unbelievable practice.”

Steve McIntyre, Partner at FaulknerBrowns, added: “The degree apprenticeship offers a different and exciting route to becoming an architect. During her apprenticeship, Laura has been exposed to extensive on-the-job experience, which both informs her university work and will be a great benefit to FaulknerBrowns when she qualifies. As an employer, supporting staff through degree apprenticeships is also about retaining talent by offering opportunities to those who for many reasons would not be able to consider more traditional study options. This opens the profession up to a wider group of people with diverse backgrounds, which we think is an important step towards making architecture more inclusive. This is why FaulknerBrowns is now in its fifth year of supporting the degree apprenticeship with Northumbria University.”

On top of everything Laura is also planning for her wedding in October to her partner back in Belfast - just after completing her degree at Northumbria.

FaulknerBrowns Architects was named Architect of the Year' by the Architects' Journal in 2022. 


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