A STUDENT'S successful work experience week at Harris Irwin Architects has led to an offer of future employment, including a gap year work placement and ongoing mentoring support.

Tommy Callender, a year 13 student at Richmond Sixth Form College spent a week at Richmond-based Harris Irwin in the summer. Prior to his placement, Tommy had only watched a few episodes of Grand Designs but his interest in design and construction grew during the placement, leaving him in no doubt that a career in architecture was for him.

A few months down the line and Ian Holme, director at Harris Irwin, gave Tommy the option of working for a year to gain valuable experience before he heads off to university, placements during university holidays as well as a full-year placement between his qualifications.

The staff at Harris Irwin had all been very impressed with Tommy, recognising his ability to quickly interpret briefs, his eye for detail and natural skill using the design packages, coupled with a strong technical understanding.

Mr Holme said: “Our practice has grown significantly over the last few years. We are continuing to expand and are always looking out for the next generation of designers to future-proof the business. "Tommy quickly adapted to working life in our busy practice, got on well with everyone and grasped every opportunity to deepen his knowledge and develop his skills. We are really looking forward to honing Tommy’s talents and making him an official member of the Harris Irwin team.”

Tommy, who is currently studying maths, design & technology and computer science, said: “Working with Harris Irwin has been a fantastic experience and I have learned so much about the field of planning and design, gaining a very positive insight into the processes involved. I really loved the design aspects of the job and the overall satisfaction of creating your own building. I enjoyed being a part of the team and feeling that I was genuinely helping out. Harris Irwin are a multi-disciplinary practice and create some great-looking and considered designs, I was particularly interested in their work on care homes. I am honoured that they would like me to come back to work for them in the future.”

Over the years the firm has employed a number of Richmond School alumni, including Katie Craggs, who has worked at Aske for more than six years.

Ms Mannion, careers leader at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, said: “It is always rewarding for our students to get positive feedback from their work experience but this is especially so for Tommy who has clearly impressed the team at Harris Irwin with his ability."