Finding A Good Mentor in Architecture

by | Oct 11, 2018

Two professionals; woman being mentored by another

A good mentor will demonstrate a genuine interest in your professional progression…

the Constructive Mentoring Program (CMP) serves as a great resource for finding a helpful mentor and role model

After studying hard at university for five years, architecture graduates then need to begin learning all the intricacies of the industry, developing their practical skills and include this in their logbook so they can sit the exam and pass the interview to become a registered architect.

As with any job that you are new to, you will need someone to teach you the ropes. Luckily within the architecture industry, it is not uncommon for more experienced professionals to take less experienced colleagues “under their wing” and mentor them through their first projects, as this can make navigating the industry a lot easier.

Ideally, a good mentor will give you the chance to learn how to do things for yourself whilst guiding you, even though this process takes longer than doing it themselves. A good mentor will be patient with you and will provide you with constructive criticism and positive feedback when due.

A good mentor will understand that it is inevitable that you will make mistakes, and hopefully help you progress through those mistakes and not make them again.

A good mentor will give you the opportunity to gain experience and understand each stage of a project, like taking you on-site and involving you in discussions with clients, consultants and colleagues and educating you about all the different facets of a project.

They will give you the opportunity to progress towards taking on more responsibility within projects whilst guiding you through the process and helping you to make the right decisions.

This also benefits them long term to relieve them some of responsibilities from them if you both grow to have trust within each other. Most of all, through teaching you, a good mentor will demonstrate a genuine interest in your professional progression and career development.

With this being said, we must always be weary of learning from a bad mentor. These are the professionals that you don’t want to be training under because it can mean that you learn their bad habits and adopt their negative attitudes, take on their bad reputation and ultimately, it can set you up badly for the rest of your career.

One way you can detect if your mentor is the right one early on, is by looking at the people who surround them. Are their long-term team members happy? Do they even have long standing team members? Is there mutual respect amongst them and their team members?

If you are lucky enough to already have a great mentor, remember to always have respect for them as they do you. Although you may not always be aware, they will spend a lot of their time educating you and they have often taken a risk by having faith in you to learn what you are doing.

Focus on learning everything you can from them whilst trying to not make their life more difficult, try to maintain that professional relationship because it can be rare and finally, if you do ever have the chance to show them your gratitude and repay the favour, we recommend you do.

If you don’t have a mentor already, the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has started the Constructive Mentoring Program (CMP) which serves as a great resource for finding a helpful mentor and role model. Applications open in February of each year and are accepted from graduates with Level 1 experience in Architecture.

Written by Tara Broun, Graduate Architect, currently completing the registration process

Tara Broun

Tara Broun

Graduate Architect

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