RSUA Professional Insights Programme 2020/21


In partnership with Belfast’s two schools of architecture, RSUA is launching the Professional Insights Programme 2020/21. This is the second full year of the programme which was shaped by a two year pilot.

The programme will be a little different this year. Due to restrictions currently place at the two schools of architecture, all programme activity must be hosted online. Despite this, we are hopeful that the programme will still be worthwhile for everyone involved.  

The aim of the programme remains the same. Its purpose is to give undergraduate students an initial understanding of the real-life work of an architect. This will help students better connect their current studies to their future professional life. The programme is a mandatory requirement for second year students studying at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.  

If you signed up for the programme last year, and want to take part again this year, you do not need to sign up again. We have already contacted you to confirm your participation in the 2020/21 programme.

If you haven’t signed up before, but you would like to take part, please register your interest here: Architect Sign Up for Professional Insights Programme 2020/21.

Last year we had around 40 architects take part in the programme, this year we need a further 10 architects to sign up. We are hopeful of a generous response from the membership.

The plan is to partner two second year students with a chartered architect and for that architect to provide around six hours online contact time to those students as a pair. Given that the programme will be hosted online, there is some flexibility with the seven insights listed below, but please use them as a guide. 

The programme aims to provide an insight into:

  • On-site activity
  • Interaction between client/user and architect
  • Working with other professions
  • Planning and/or building regulations
  • Resourcing and business administration
  • Winning work and/or procurement
  • The process of material selection

Participating architects should aim to provide at least three of the seven insights.

Programme Coordination 

  • An online launch event will he held on Friday 11 December 2020 for the students to meet each other, to aid with communication and to enable co-ordination of diaries.
  • Wednesdays and Fridays should be earmarked as the starting point for proposed days of the week for students to meet with their architect. Of course, alternative arrangements can be agreed.
  • We have provided clear guidance to the students about how to approach their architect with proposed dates/times for the initial meeting and the importance of sticking to that arrangement.
  • An interim deadline of Friday 18 December 2020 has been set for students to make initial contact with their architect 
  • A post programme event for the students will be held to share their experiences with each other and with us. This event will take place on 30 April 2021.

Why participate? Chartered architects are encouraged to participate in this programme to help students be more work-ready. It is also a useful way for architects in private practice to engage with the next generation of potential recruits. However, it should be stressed that participation in this programme is not confined to architects in private practice.

Architect eligibility: To participate, an architect must be a member of RSUA/RIBA or be a RIBA International Member based in the Republic of Ireland. The architect must be in a position to provide at least three of the seven insights listed above. We are asking architects to sign up individually. Multiple architects from the same organisation are very welcome to participate.

Permission: Where appropriate, architects are advised to seek permission from their employer before committing to participate in this programme.

Pay and insurance: Neither students or architects will be paid or receive expenses for participating in this programme. As this is part of the students’ studies and the programme will solely take place online the universities will be covering the insurance.

CPD points and certification: Mentoring can also provide learning opportunities for architects as they reflect on their work and revisit the fundamentals. This can count towards an architect’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements. On completion of the minimum six hours an RSUA certificate will be issued.

Sign up: We are hoping to get 50 architects to participate in the programme. Sign up is very straightforward – you are only asked to provide your name, contact details, organisation, location, a few words on what you expect to be working on over the next few months and to tick the range of insights likely to be provided. Please sign up by Friday 4 December 2020.

Click here to register to participate:  Architect Sign Up for Professional Insights Programme 2020/21.