In this Light at the End of the Tunnel session, Kate Doyle, CEO of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia joins us to discuss the why, how and when of registration, and the various pathways available. Kate is particularly interested to encourage women to complete their registration, and will take the opportunity to pose questions back to the audience about what people need to support them into and through the process.
– My name's Naomi Stead and I'm a professor and the Head of the Department of Architecture at Monash University. And this series, Light At the End of the Tunnel, is an ongoing collaboration between Monash Architecture and Parlour.
As always, we begin by with an acknowledgement of country, acknowledging the people of the greater Kulin nations who are the traditional custodians of the land that Monash University is located on. Although, of course this group is located all the way across Australia and all the way across Victoria. So we acknowledge the traditional custodians of country, all across Australia, as many nations and recognise their continuing connection to land orders and culture, and pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging, and to indigenous Australians who are part of the Parlour community.
This seminar is the sixth in our Light At the End of the Tunnel series, which is looking specifically at architecture as a profession, discipline and practice, and how will it be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first five sessions have been a combination of some big picture scenes hitting discussions, looking at where we are now and where we can expect to go from here. And also some more specific detailed sessions, where we've tried to have focused advice for particular groups. And the first of them really was last week's foot in the door session, which was really aimed at students, new graduates and people who had left the profession for one reason or another, and wanted to get back in. So our speakers over the past five weeks have been Misty Waters, Helen Lochhead, Jess Murphy, the session on leadership a couple of weeks back with Eloise Atkinson and Adam Haddow.
Last week's foot in the door session had guests, Chi Melhem and Ryan Barton, and this week I'm very pleased to say that our guest is Kate Doyle, CEO of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, or double AACA, who will be focusing on the issue, and indeed the benefits of registration. Justine is going to introduce Kate in a second, but first as always, let me run through the protocols of the session. Please make sure your microphone is on mute, everybody's is, thank you very much. If you are willing and able, we do invite you to leave your camera on because it's nice to be able to see everyone else's face. And this is a community event. So there is definitely a sense of solidarity when you can see other people's presence. The format as you know is a Q&A, it's meant to be informal, but informative. Justine and I will ask questions to keep things moving, but we'll also take questions from the floor throughout. So if you have a question, please put it in the chat function and we'll ask people to put their questions live. So, turn on your camera, turn off your mute microphone and ask your question to Kate live. Please also feel free to add your own observations and experiences into the chat, we have found that to be really a kind of unexpected pleasure of this series that people are adding their own elaborations and experiences in the chat. We will be really fascinated to see what comes out of this particular one around issues of registration. We won't get to all of your questions, every week we have some fantastic questions, which unfortunately we just don't have time to get to, but they will help to inform the topics of subsequent sessions.
Now I'm going to hand over to Justine who'll introduce Kate.
– Hi everybody. Nice to see you all again. As Naomi said, we're turning our attention to registration today. And I just thought I'd say a few things quickly about registration before I introduce the fabulous Kate Doyle. Of course, we all know that here in Australia, you need to be registered to call yourself an architect. Architects Acts differ slightly from state to state, but as far as I understand, they are all framed in terms of consumer protection. But within the wider culture of architecture registration has taken on a much bigger role. It's also a matter of identity and it's often used as a gateway to participation in all areas, or many areas of the discipline. So has a role that's well beyond the design and delivery of buildings. Registration really matters as a qualification, particularly for women.
There's lots and lots of evidence from outside of our profession that credentials are much more significant in terms of the career progression of women. And within architecture becoming registered is really one of the biggest credential's that we have. Registration is also really important for measuring participation and one of the most frequently quoted statistics all across the world that have a registration system, when discussing women and architecture, is that big gap between the graduation rates of women and the registration rates. And there's a lot we could say about that, which we may or may not get to. And to our colleague, Gill Mathewson who many of you will know as our data diva, as she calls herself, in 2012 undertook an analysis of the Australian census. And that showed that at that time, there were twice as many women active in Australian architecture as there were women who were registered architects. So there's this huge group of women who were really involved in the profession who identified with it, but were not registered. Gill's more recent analysis has shown that in those intervening years, the numbers of women becoming registered in Australia have really skyrocketed, to the extent that all of the growth on the registers can be accounted for by the registration of women. And we really see this as partly a matter of women taking issues of representation and equity into their own hands, getting registered is something that we can do or not me, but you know, you guys. So, registration I guess matters in lots and lots of ways.
So we're very pleased to have Kate here to discuss this with us and to talk specifically about the pathways that one might take to registration. Kate's had a long-term interest in encouraging women to complete their registration. And today I think we're also going to ask some questions back to the audience. Usually we have the audience asking our speakers questions, but I think Kate also is very keen to use this as an opportunity to gather information about what people need to support them into and through the registration process. So now I get to introduce Kate. Kate is a great friend to Parlour, and I'd say to me personally. Kate is very aware of the equity issues and how this can play out in regulatory environments. And one of the things I really appreciate most about her is that I think we come from slightly different perspectives about registration sometimes, but she's always up for very robust discussion and I really appreciate and value that. And she's just really fun to hang out with. So we like to have our friends on, anyway, off the topic. Okay.
So Kate is the CEO of the Architecture Accreditation Council of Australia. She has extensive experience in program development in education, competency based assessment and professional regulation contexts. She has held leadership roles at both state and federal levels for various bodies and the not for profit sector. She's more than 12 years experience in architecture, and previously was the registrar in the new South Wales Architects Registration Board. So welcome Kate. We're very pleased to have you here. I should also say that AACA has contributing some funds to help support this event today. So we also really appreciate that, because all of these things take time and money to make happen. So thank you for that, but let's get started with, I think what the big question Kate would start with is, why does registration matter? From your perspective, why should people go through this process of becoming registered?
– Kate, microphone.
– I'll leave the gender issue for a moment if I may. And I'll first say, well, thank you very much for inviting me to come along today. I had actually talked about supporting this before Justine asked me to be a speaker. So it wasn't like, "I'll give you some support if I can speak." Really, but it is really good as Justine says, we've had a number of discussions over many years, across many contexts in terms of what this actually means. I think that what it actually means to be registered as an architect, and I think we really have to go back and we all acknowledge that there are numerous ways of contributing to architecture. There are numerous levels of expertise, what people are doing. The field of architecture has meaning well outside individual buildings and individual spaces.
But having said that, so what does registration as an architect mean? And we go back then to government regulation and government regulation of professions, which is essentially about consumer protection. So whilst some architects still think that architect acts are about protecting the right of architects to architects, as in those persons on the register to use the title architect, it really is about having an opportunity to know who is the appropriate person to be involved in the very serious and sometimes risky business of designing, managing delivery, working with clients, working with the community on buildings. So it's no accident that I would think, and this is my figure, I can't, it's very hard to base it on data, but I would think that probably 95% of the public buildings, commercial buildings, and those buildings are important to the community, to people who have no... Wouldn't even have any idea about really what architecture in itself means, would be actually designed by those people who have professional education, professional experience, and practicing in that space. So it is not, I think sometimes it's really easy to come from the point of it being exclusive and trying to keep people out. I like to see it the other way.
It's actually about making sure that the appropriately qualified and experienced person is being responsible for the design and delivery of buildings, because they are a lot important in terms of from a business perspective, but as Justine touched on, architecture is incredibly important in terms of providing shelter, fundamentally at that point of being a point of shelter, but also being great pointers to the values of a society. What do we value in our society? What does that actually mean? Our historic, where did we come, history, et cetera. Now we could spend the whole session looking at that, but I just thought I'd pose it.
It's actually, I think if we look at registration and what the purpose of it is, rather than it being a means of keeping people out, I think another problematic area in terms of the perception is that many people or most people probably on the call today would have a qualification in architecture, they've completed what I would term professional education in architecture. At the end of the point of graduation, they are not legally, and there are provisions in each act in the country, in each state and territory around the country to restrict a person from using that title. And again, that goes back to the purpose of, well, are they actually in the practicing space? So for example, if a person who has an academic qualification in architecture and then has an academic career in architecture, and there's been the point of why can't we have non-accredited architects who are practicing in architectural education? Well, the point is not about... That's a different level of regulation. We are actually looking about what is the regulation and consumer protection in that space.
I think Justine very, very clearly summarised and it's really all the great work that Parlour has been doing since it's inception, it's made it very easy for, it's taken away a lot of the... I can recall some discussions I had in my early years as the registrar, of the New South Wales Board and coming not from the architecture profession being quite horrified, and if not amazed, actually horrified that there was this whole cohort of women who I just assumed were architects. They were providing architectural services. They were often co-owners or directors or principals in practice, but when it comes to the legal restriction, they were not architects. And I think it goes to a number of things. The fact that the title is protected, not the practice, and Australia along with New Zealand and the UK, probably three of the only countries in the world, nations in the world that don't actually have some kind of restriction to practice. There are some very minor, well, I say very minor in that in terms of a national perspective restrictions to practice. And I don't want to go into that space at the moment, because I think we want to focus on something else today.
So, I think it's needed because if you want to practice as an architect, get registered. I just think, I just can't understand why you wouldn't want to do that. Now that's a desire to do that, and wanting to do that, and an aim to do that is different than to what are the barriers and what can actually stand in the way? And again, Parlour has published some fantastic and accessible and interesting, and just the whole Parlour package I think is really fantastic because it actually comes from the personal as well as from the data end. And I think that is very important when winning hearts and minds. And it's not winning the hearts and minds of men, particularly, I'm more concerned about winning the hearts and minds of women to say, "Hey, I'm in this space. I want to make sure that I have the opportunity to take any role that might come to me because I'm not looking at a barrier or I'm not an architect." So you could be restricted from submitting for competitions. Many competitions require registration as an architect, certainly in the most, many governments... I should be careful here. Many governments around the country require a person submitting for tenders in various building types require the person to be a registered architect.
And the other thing is also in terms of what’s actually happening in practice. I know there are a certain, there are number of firms around the country that actually have a positive policy that says you can't get past a certain level in the firm without being registered. Now those to my experience, and I'm talking hearsay here, my experience that's really probably only been, I would think in the last 5 to 10 years that people have been thinking about that. And they're thinking about that from a number of reasons, how are they presenting themselves? In some cases, I can think of some cases, I'm certainly a little bit further out of the space now but as a registrar, there are some firms who had maybe a very low proportion of senior practitioners in their practice who were registered architects. And I think that is actually really changing and has changed particularly so in the last five years. So I think that inside the architectural workforce, I think there's a higher importance placed upon becoming an architect. And then as I said, individual firms have those policies as well. I don't want to go too much, because as Justine said, if I want to ask the question, so I think I'll stop there, and then I'll come back to some of I'm sure that some of the questions that people will ask will allow me to reflect upon the particular barriers that I see and how they correct.
– So if anyone, I've been in the chat's pretty quiet at the moment, if you've got questions for Kate, please put them in there. I mean, I suppose the next question really is that, I know you've done a lot of work in recent years to develop a range of pathways to registration. And I think traditionally there was one pathway, and I know you’ve done a lot of work in recent years to enable those from overseas into a smoother pathway. And you've also got the experience practitioner pathway. So I wonder if he might just talk a little bit about, and I presume you've got those different pathways because you were finding that those cohorts were experiencing barriers through the previously established pathways.
– So I wonder if you might talk briefly about those.
– Sure. Just briefly cause all of this information is on our website. The majority of architects in Australia are educated in Australia in one of the 19 programs, now 19 programs, soon to be a few more, have completed the architecture practice exam and then applied for registration in Australian territory. Australia has an active skills migration policy. So therefore, we see a lot of international graduates, architecture graduates and international architects who are experienced architects from their home jurisdiction coming into Australia. And up until three years ago, there was really… the pathway that people had to go through, was that they had to have their, obviously it's qualification recognised. And then if it didn't fit the absolutely neat pattern of five years or equivalent to five years, which is our model in Australia, then they had to go and do some top up study. Just the idea of being able to do the top up study, it was a really big barrier because increasingly, we didn't actually ask universities what they thought about that. How do people actually get into do, how could they possibly get in to do this study without having to have a whole lot of prerequisites, having to do a whole lot of other things. So there's a whole lot of other baggage attached to that. So that was a disincentive. In terms then for people, and I'll just use the example of, because it's the most common example of German graduates, graduates from a German university, up until about 2010, one of the most common architecture qualifications was a four year qualification, and that allowed the person to move through the path to registration.
So we looked at things instead of saying, we've got to have these really quick, smooth and different special pathway. We looked at our national benchmark for the National Standard of Competency. We looked at what performance criteria were benched benchmarked against that? And we said, okay, well, we can actually deal with the four year qualification because we know competency does not finish at the end of the professional education. So we now… people who have a less than five year qualification, which was the program in their home country when they graduated that allowed them to register as an architect, then they're welcome to come through our combined pathway and do the architecture practice exam. Or if they are eligible to do the experienced practitioner, the experienced practitioner is the other model that came into being in 2018.
And remember all of these things does rely in the AACA having a good idea and doing it. It relies upon working in collaboration with eight jurisdictions. So it is a complex world. And it works on collaboration because mutual recognition is incredibly important. As in architects shouldn't have to be… go through another testing regime to move from state to state, et cetera.
– Hey, sorry. Can I just break in for a second there? We've got a hot run of questions in the chat. I'm going to invite Ilana Razbash to ask you a question, Ilana.
– Hello. Thanks for the question. Yeah, it's something we really hear often, especially when students get that minimum one-year pre-graduation experience and then we're on track and our log book is going well and we want to register the year following so we get at one year post graduation. And then when we feel confident we're on track, but the cacophony is saying, don't register too soon, don't go for it too soon, but you know you're ready or getting there and you're on schedule and your mentors are saying the same thing, but the general consensus stops from the point of judging, "Oh, you're too young." So could you maybe say some more about that and offer some advice too?
– Thanks Ilana hat's a really good question because it allows me to flick onto another barrier that I think is there, so that we've got the barriers of, what the rules are, what the rules of the program are, and then what the rules that people have put on themselves, or are put on them by, or through their peers or their colleagues. There may well be a consensus that, I mean, if we actually have a look at the majority of candidates coming through to the APE, it would generally be in the last five years or so, we know it's generally within three to five years, probably more around the four to five years post-graduation. There is a reason why the requirement says that you must have, you can log material, long term experience beforehand because there's been a long tradition, probably less so now, a long tradition of people working through their architectural education, particularly there was that very traditional to have that gap between their first degree and the second degree.
So I don't know, who's telling you that, did a registrar of a board tell you that Ilana? Did your peers tell you that, did your boss tell you that? I think in terms of who you should listen to, you should listen to yourself. You should look at what I have, I look at by the requirements of the log book. You should talk to your supervisor and people who are working with you and helping you through this, and ask for their opinion. And I think that's how you should be deciding when you should submit your application for the APE. I think a really good example of what is it, what's the barrier that is a... Barriers are barriers. Are they a barrier that a candidates have placed upon themselves, or an applicant is placed upon themselves, or because they've heard something or peer report? But it's really thinking about, are you ready? And you can check that, are you ready to apply for registration through doing your own self assessment by talking to your supervisors and your colleagues in your workplace and go for it.
– Maybe we'll just stay on this theme for a bit longer because Tess O’Meara, also has a good observation to make on the same topic. So Tess, do you want to put your question?
– Yeah, sure. I was just following on from Ilana's comment. I think generally the consensus or the talk of the town when you're telling people you're thinking about registration is don't rush it, it's onerous. It's really hard, just don't rush into it. You've only just finished uni. And I think then that mentality leads to having peers or people in the workplace who are the next step above you, and when you anecdotally ask them their registration experience, they've usually done it at around the five year mark, which I think essentially just leads to this perception where, if you do it in two or three years, you feel like you're doing it really early and you feel like you're taking a bit of a risk doing it.
– Well, I think that's interesting. And maybe in terms of that, because one of the things that I did want to talk about today, so what are we going to do about these issues that are raised? I think there's maybe some work there too. Maybe we talk about to the PALS and PARC coordinators as well, because I think they have, the PALS and PARC are two of the main preregistration support programs that are available to APE candidates. I think that… and I get what you're saying, Tess, people will always give you advice and people I would say that you actually have to listen to advice, and then you have to taper that with your, again, back to your own experience. Tess, can I ask you, are you reflecting on your experience yourself or you're just thinking about hearsay?
– Yeah, I'm actually with a couple of friends doing my registration, undertaking the process at the moment. And I think when we started to think about, do we do it now? Do we do it next intake? We asked around and found this was a pretty common theme. And I think maybe in terms of how I think personally it relates to gender, I have definitely noticed that amongst the women in the group who were undertaking registration, it's this feeling that registration, you have made it through university, you have successfully going along in your early career and holding it together. And it is that feeling of impostor syndrome and registration…
– Yeah. I think... I'm sorry, I've just lost the sound of Tess there. Can people hear me? Can you hear me?
– Yeah. Sorry.
– Yeah. I think then we go back to those broader issues that again, gender has ceilings that are across women's endeavours in all fields about that imposter syndrome. I think that you have to listen to the right voices. And I think that you listen to the voices in yourselves, listen to… benchmark yourself, if you like. And I'm not saying I'm against males, I'm talking about benchmarking yourself against other graduates in your firm, your peers outside. And I just think it's… you just have to… that internal clock that says no, because people are giving, it's sage advice to say, make sure you're ready when you go, because you don't want to be disappointed. That's good advice. But that can mean very different things. That will mean a different perception for each, sort of self assessment that is required by each individual candidate. And I think that that goes for all of our programs, not just that.
– I'm quite surprised to hear that people are saying that I have to say because we generally think based on having heard the experiences of many people over the years who have delayed getting registered and they find it incredibly difficult to do once all sorts of other responsibilities start piling up as well. One of those is children, if you were to have children. So we, on the whole, tend to say you got to register as fast as you can. Get that qualification and keep moving. I'm a bit alarmed to hear that.
– I mean, obviously it's not a universal experience because even just here, we've Sarah Burge observing that her experience has been completely the opposite. Do you want to make that point, Sarah?
– Yeah, so I'm from a slightly smaller firm but all the way through my working career, I've been encouraged by both of my directors to get registered, look at what your competencies are. Is there anything that they could do to help me fulfil what the competencies were that I needed? And I suppose in the back of my mind as well, and I suppose it's not strictly related to being a female in the industry, but I can see how busy the women around me are. And they've got children and they've got families. I didn't want to honestly get into the point where I just had so much going on in my life and it was overwhelming. So getting it done with people that I went through uni with is well, being supported by them, made it a lot easier. And that was how I was benchmarking myself. And I think a lot of it as well is getting your hours up and your experience on site and all of that stuff is important.
But all of that is learned from reading through the textbooks and notes, and things like that, and yeah, and even within the office site. There were things that I was reading through and I was like, "Oh, I'm not quite sure about this, I might ask the office." And everyone in the office went through and learned that again, because yeah, there's so much to gain from doing the study. It's not just the experience, but yeah. That's been my experience.
– I mean, I think that... I agree with you and I think this relates to, and I've worked in other professions as well. I think it is the very unusual case when a person who is more senior to you will actually discourage you from making an attempt to follow a pathway, they might give you some advance, then you listen to that advice but I really think that most of the stories I hear are actually more of Sarah's. Unfortunately like everything bad news is easier to listen to and it's that whole, we're all sometimes very prone to is listening to the negative rather than the positive. We need to think also about the pass rates for the architecture practice exam. This isn't an exam that we have, it's a pass rate over the last five years. It is sat then for nationally, it is sat around the 70 to 75%, I’m talking about the rate of part three. So we're not talking about an exam that is incredibly difficult to pass. It takes time and effort to get to that point but I think most people's experience sometimes it surprises people is how much they really appreciated going through that process and how much that they had actually learned through having to really focus on the broad range of really focusing on practice of architecture issues that they might not necessarily be exposed to, as a reasonably recent graduate. And I would say to everybody whenever I did a briefing in New South Wales as the registrar, I would say to all the candidates, regardless of their gender, do it within the first five years before life gets in the way.
– Okay. So there's quite a lot of discussion here about the experience practitioner pathway as well, but Kate, since there's a lot going on here, but I wondered if you wanted to put the questions that you are interested in getting feedback on to our audience as well?
– Yes, okay. Thanks, Justine. What I wanted to do was to people to really think about what are the barriers to them? I think, and are those barriers something that they can do something about? Do they have any agency on that? And if not, who else could actually help them? Is it looking to organization like Parlour to say, "Well, how can you maybe advise people about how to get together in some kinds of support groups to go through these programs?" If it's something like, and something that we're actually starting to look at in the experience practitioner assessment, which has only been around for two years, is that we're starting to look at, and the experienced practitioners I’ll explain that for a second, because it does illustrate this point of where things can move and where things can't.
There's a in-moveability in a number of these programs and it is about professional education and experience, and can you actually meet the performance criteria? And there's some flexibility in the way we can assess that. But in the experienced practitioner assessment, and that can apply to a person with an Australian architectural qualification, or a person with an international qualification, and then having a portfolio of complex projects behind them, where they have had executive level experience. That means they've been a decision maker. It doesn't mean that they were called the project director, it means that they had responsibility for an aspect of work and work progressed based upon a decision they made.
The problem is often for women, when you look at, in the last 10 years, particularly depending upon the age profile of the woman because they might have built up a portfolio of complex budgets. But that might have been 15 years ago, because in the meantime they might've moved out of that mode of practice, or they might have moved into different responsibilities within a firm. So we're looking at how, what is the pinch point of where… and where the boards will agree. Because remember, we need to go there to actually say, we need to have some flexibility here in this.
And because again, we talk about the old thing about, if cities were designed to be good for women and children, they'd be good for everybody. It's a bit like this, anytime we actually come up, look at some flexibility in this when we're looking at the particular barriers to women, it can apply to men as well, to other agendas as well. So that's one of the things, so that's an example of a barrier that we can actually do because we've actually noticed what's happening, and we're always open to what people are saying. I noticed some, they're called hardens on the line and we've had a lot of discussions over the years about number of their assessment programs as well. So we do listen and we try but we don't, we really, we've got to take in what is actually our responsibility, but on the behalf of the boards, we actually have robust programs that will allow a person to get to registration as soon as they can.
– So you're interested to know what various people are experiencing.
– There might be opportunities to adjust. I wonder if we might throw to Lynne Varhol. Lynne asked some questions in our session last week, but I now is trying to find a way to get registered and is... Lynn you're there, you've been making quite a few comments.
– Thanks very much, Justine. Good morning Kate or good afternoon, I suppose it is out there. I'm an experienced practitioner. My overseas training was done in South Africa. I graduated in '96, so I have over 20 years of experience with complex projects primarily. But in the past three years, I've had a really hard time finding employment. And in fact, in the past three years, I've only had 12 months of employment, and that was part time. I was made redundant in July last year and haven't been able to secure any employment since. And as was highlighted in last week's discussion, a lot of that comes across because I apply for any position and a lot of the attitude I get is, "Oh, well, you're overqualified. We wouldn't feel confident at hiring you because you're stuck in your ways, blah, blah, blah," which frankly is nonsense when you're at my level and desperate to work, you will do anything. I mean, I've even worked for minimum wage, even though we're told, you mustn't work for under the award payment, but that's often not an option.
So my question is, is there some flexibility possibly to the kind of work experience like I've done some private work that could increase my hours. But when I've done some pro bono work, but I haven't had the full requirement of the 12 months of paid employment over the past three years. I have, not in Australia over the past seven years. But as you've mentioned, you mentioned that this pathway started two years ago. So prior to that, I was just too swamped with work to even think about registration quite honestly.
– Okay. Well, I think that the requirement in terms of the work, it's a really good question. Thanks for sharing your experiences because I think it is applicable across, and I just saw something flash up. Sorry, I'm working on my own today because I had some problems with my computer. So if I look a bit for of the weed every now and then it's, because I can't see properly on the phone.
However, Lynne, I think that the requirements of the APE talks about relevant work experience, it doesn't talk about paid employment. Obviously people take that to be employment and the majority of applicants would actually, that's exactly how you would rate it, that you're employed in an architectural office or you are employed in the related area. You might've been doing work in your own name, but it related to architectural services. So I think that of course there's some flexibility there in terms of, if you've done work in your own name and it relates to architectural services, it's what we're trying to make sure is that obviously a person who might've been in paid employment if for the last 10 years in Australia, but it wasn't architecture related, even though they might've had an extensive architectural career overseas, they wouldn't be eligible. Does that make sense? So it's certainly a variety of experience that is, work in your own name, pro bono work that you've done in design, would be cut off. And also that issue about the 12 months, we talk about 12 months in the last three years to try and cater for the fact that it might not necessarily you're being, all within one calendar year, but I've got you.
I've been actually, one of our program staff will actually come back to you on this because this was, Justine and I discussed this the other day because when we were talking about this program and I was talking about these sorts of things, and she said, "Oh, there was a person last week who had a particular issue." And I'm sure there might be a couple of other people on the web today who have that. So I've got your details. So Monica, the programs person will come back to you about that situation. So it's a really good example of, yeah, let's look at the whole situation, see how we can be flexible because the critical components of your experience providing architectural services in complex project is not an issue. It's just how it fits into the program guidelines.
– I wonder if we might throw it to a question from Badru Ahmed who has a question about colleagues being territorial, but also, just before we do that Kate, we're getting a little bit of echo, and it may be your audio. Do you mind putting yourself on mute just for a second while we take Badru’s question? Are you there?
– Yes, I'm here. Sorry, I'm going to stay to turn on my video, but anyway, I think my voice is enough.
– No problem. Just speak up a bit better. You're a bit quiet.
– Sorry. Can you hear me better now?
– Yeah. That's that's good.
– Yeah. Like I said, I think this is just a personal observation and I think this isn't taught so much, because you are with your colleagues, you wouldn't necessarily bring that up in front of them. And sometimes I feel like many of them are very territorial, especially let's say someone has got one more year of experience than me. So we are essentially seeking the same kind of tasks. And sometimes those tasks are limited in the office and sometimes they can get territorial about it, which I feel is very difficult to navigate because it can create a negative environment if you bring it up, it's very hard to address it. And look, I'm not trying to bring the whole gender issue in, but sometimes you feel that around women sometimes more, because I also understand maybe out of 10 seats in the top, only two of us will get there. So we have to fight amongst ourselves before we get there to take one of those two seats, if that makes sense. And that's just my observation and I'm an immigrant and I was an international student before. So this was my experience worldwide, really. And this is the fourth country I'm living in. So, but anyway, that's pretty much it.
– Thanks. Kate, do you want to comment on that?
– Look, yeah, I really hate to hear that people are feeling that they are in such a competitive world that they're fighting. I think that that's a really, I'm not suggesting for a moment that you're not feeling that in your situation. I suppose I think I can’t comment specifically on that. I think in a workplace there'll always be that level of competition about who feels that they have more of a right than others because of longevity. But I would think that one can have 10 years experience and you're still not necessarily able to meet the criteria for the broad range of criteria. So I think I would say to candidates, be really strategic in the way you actually operate in the workplace in terms of thinking, about being really clear about, it's not just two years experience, it is looking at experience in specific areas. So really look at how you can actually build your profile in that light.
– Any advice on how to address this? Like, do I address it over a coffee? Because honestly I'm seeing that Melonie, thank you for the response. It's great to take it to the director, but also I also feel that you should pick your battles very wisely. And I don't want to take a small issue like that to a director, it is a small issue in the sense that it's like, "Oh, this is part of navigating everyday life." And I feel like there must be a way to address it in a reasonable way and say, "Hey, look, we are all in this together. We'll all get there together. And I think we'll help each other if we do it together." But I'm just asking for advice really, because I'm sure you've got heaps or more advice with a lot of different kind of people.
– From my perspective, I'd actually throw that to someone who's worked with people who are working in architectural firms Naomi and Justine, I think-
– Melonie is doing a fantastic job here.
– I can’t actually read the chat, so
– We will say thank you to Melonie. And also what have you got to say about this, Melonie, this particular rather subtle and pretty tricky question?
– I think I'm off mute. Look, I think it's a challenge. I think in an office where you have, I don't know how big your office is that you're working in Badru, but I know that in many small practices where directors and maybe senior associates, whatever, are very active in working with graduates on projects and I'm seeing in my own practice and I've seen for many years I guess, because I'm very proactive at it, but I do hear about this happening in other practices is that people make efforts to spread the tasks and the opportunities on different products as evenly as possible. It's never going to be perfect.
But I think it's, I know you said that you feel that it's a small matter and it may is something that you should be negotiating, but I actually would beg to differ and I say, actually, it's not a small matter because it's getting in the way of you get experience. And maybe like I said, the director, I don't know, again, I don't know how big the practice, but maybe the director or the senior architect, whoever it is, is blissfully unaware that maybe they need to.
And look, I hear this from many graduates that they're not sure whether they can pipe up about these things in practice. And I actually think, yeah, it can be very difficult and you don't want to jeopardise the goodwill or the relationships in the practice, but ultimately you have to think about your own experience, your registration, your own career. And sometimes unfortunately you just have to stand up for yourself and have a difficult conversation, or a conversation you might feel is difficult simply because people are just not aware. They're not thinking that way and it's unfortunate, but it does happen. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard these stories over many years of being an examiner and doing talks on regi-frustration.
And now I'm the convener in New South Wales. And I hear these things all the time. And so, I know it's hard for graduates to do that, but I just want to encourage you all, give you the spirit of encouragement to have the hard conversations, because you might find that actually it opens up opportunities and maybe it actually helps the whole practice work better. That's my, I'm happy to... I’ll go back to the chat now and shut up.
– No. Thank you. That's a lovely response, thank you. I think I needed to, like you said, listen to the right voices.
– Naomi, is it worth trying to Carolynne Napier here, who's been through this herself and found a way through it. Carolynne, are you available to tell us about your experience?
– Yeah, I don't know my mic works very well, so if you can't hear me just let me know. So I have put my log book in at the start of this year and it passed. So I'm stuck in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment, but I struggled, I graduated only two years ago and I struggled probably for the first 12 months to actually get put on construction admin, and also getting on projects. So it's my first point of call, was just to go to, I work with one architect quite closely and I raised with him that I wanted to go through registration. I basically said, I want to be registered within 24 to 30 months, was my timeframe. And there was a transition that said, yep, okay, well time, let get you the tasks that you need to do that. And in doing that, I realised that I needed support because I need help to study and to be motivated to do that. And part of that was we have quite a lot of graduates.
So we have an online chat system with our office, we set up a page that's just got all of the graduates included in it. And basically, anything that we find at PALS, anything that comes up in our projects, we can put them in that chat area and everyone has access to it. And it's quite good then to be able to talk about what's happening on my project or what I'm working on and share that with people who probably haven't had that experience yet. So that's internal.
Probably I haven't had as much experience trying to get to talk to people at other firms because I also work on a particular type of building. And I'd like to learn more about what other people are doing and other firms too, or what experiences they're having at different project stages. So I don't know if there's another avenue potentially that we could go down, and a bigger group of people like a group or something like that, where we share more information, if that's something that could support a lot of people, because it sounds like most people aren't being supported.
– I know in Adelaide, the AACA runs a registration study group, which is different to PALS and PARC, which I think actually quite actively teach. And this is simply a platform where people get together and support each other in studying, and as an organisation AACA facilitates that. And I've always thought that seemed like a really great idea. So I wonder if there's ways to try and set something like that up in other places, and now that we're all online, we can all do, we don't need to be bound by our geography. So maybe that's something that we might all think about, how we could.
– I wonder, Justine, whether we could talk to our friend Angelina Pillai, at the AACA because there's no reason why an Adelaide based group couldn't become a national group, for example. I mean, without wanting to commit them to anything that they haven't committed themselves to.
– I'm resisting committing Parlour to something, but I can feel myself leaping in.
– But there would need to be moderation and so forth. So there would be some work, but look, I'm just aware that we've got three minutes until our time is complete and we've had some excellent questions, which we unfortunately are not going to have time to come to. But I feel like this chat is going to be a fantastic resource for Kate and for everybody else. Justine, what do you want to do for, maybe we can take one more question?
– Yes. Maybe one more question that goes to Kate's question to you all about really where are the barriers that, and how might we start, the AACA start to address those.
– We could go to Thea? Thea has a specific barrier. Thea, do you want to put your question? Maybe we've lost Thea. The barrier, I can just say it, pipe in Thea if you join us. The barrier is the assumption that graduates are young. More and mature age entry, this is a career change and people are graduating in their 40s and 50s, I think. The current climate of employment opportunities, people being time poor and the necessity of taking a role, any role, which is related to architecture. Can experience in tasks not gained in an architecture practice be used?
– The answer is yes, and it's very, we deal with that. We're getting an increasing number of applications for the architecture practice exam, where some or sometimes in some cases, even all of their experience logged is not going under the supervision of an architect. So, absolutely yes. I think it doesn't matter. I don't think the age profile, there's a whole range of other reasons, sort of life experience, but in terms of the performance criteria, it's not impacting on the process. I know there is some people who are very keen to come to apply to the APE within the 12 months post-graduation because of extensive experience they've had, and boards will look at that on a case by case basis. If I can just, I'm unconscious of time. So I think yes, there is an enormous amount of flexibility.
For anyone doing the APE, they should really look at our frequently asked questions, which are actually answers to questions that people have asked us, or have asked the boards over the last year or so. And our websites information on all of our other programs. We have two detailed webinars on the APE and the OQA respectably.
But if I could just say, one of the things that we're doing at the moment, we've two major projects that we're doing, which impact everybody in architecture. One is the review of the National Standard of Architecture. And I wouldn't encourage everyone to watch the process in that that's happening there and make a personal response to, there's an issues paper out at the moment, and then participate later in a year.
But we're also doing another project on how we can better support graduates on the path to registration, because some of the things that I think it was Thea saying or Carolynne, I'm not sure, about how difficult it is to get access to some of that experience, particularly around contract, admin, procurement, and some of the project delivery aspects. And so we're looking at, and again, one of the models that we're looking at is encouraging a mentorship model, not that they have to pay anyone to go and do another new thing, but to actually in work that's already happening. So the model that AACA rolls out in South Australia, the AIA has a head of the mentorship program. Some employers have it. So we're looking at trying to use what is already there, but to reflect back on what are the barriers in specific programs and then across in terms of women across all of the programs we take that into account as well.
And the last advertisement I would have is I'm sure Justine, if I can say that as well is the very important survey that's out at the moment. Sorry, I'm just saying that as a matter of course, I've got that in my notes, so everything I'm doing at the moment, I'm doing lots of briefings at the moment, is please answer the survey and wellbeing in architecture that's coming out new from a number of sources at the moment.
– Yeah. Great. Okay. Well, thank you very much for that, Kate. I think Laura Harding got a really great question here, but we're over time. Does it?
– I'm quite happy to take it.
– It's a very provocative question. Laura, do you want to just put it very quickly and succinctly and we'll make it the last one?
– We can't hear you just yet. No.
– I'll try again. Sorry. I wasn't expecting to speak. It's just coming from experiencing a practice where people have tried several times and it's absolutely impossible for us to comply with the registration experience requirements despite a desire and the support from the practice to do so. So I'm just wondering it's because our experience...
– Of architecture is much more broad and I wonder if the board has ever considered two categories, one that some maybe registered and can encompass people like Justine or people have a much broader contribution to make. And as a side for maybe charted architects who of course have a different legal responsibility, but as a way of just being more inclusive about these skills that architecture might want to keep within the team.
– Yeah, I think that's a really good question. And it goes to the heart of what the purpose of regulation is. It goes to the heart of what we're talking about at the moment in the Review of the National Standard of competency. So Laura, I'd suggest that you put in and have a look at that because the performance currently, the national standard underpins all of our programs. I also think the other thing that we're looking at in this bit of support for graduates is we're also looking at maybe the potential for substituting some of the experience required in the APE in terms of those areas where a graduate is finding it difficult to gain experience and replace that with some kind of formal learning program. So that might be well of interest. So the recommendations from that program are going to be in the annual meeting of Architecture Registration Boards in September- October.
So we are conscious of the fact Laura, that there are people who are operating in the broad space of architectural services relating to buildings and spaces, but not might be able to meet some of those very specific performance criteria because of the range of services they provide. So again, that's because we've been, what we know with practice has changed so much, particularly in the last five years, and the boards are very alive to that issue as well, even though it might sound like it's sometimes like, sorry, that didn't mean that rude about the board. I didn't mean that. I just mean because we are looking still at the architecture practice exam as it has been for the last 15 years. Yeah.
– Right. Well, thank you.
– Take it away, Justine. You're going wrap it up?
– Sure. Thank you, Kate. Thank you, Laura. Thank you everybody. I feel like this has been an incredibly productive session in that chat session and we will make a transcript of that available to Kate. So if people have got more feedback for Kate, I'm sure they can just find Kate through the AACA website.
– You're very welcome to send things to us here at Parlour and we can forward them on. And this is obviously an ongoing discussion and I'm also very interested to think more about that informal support and how this great conversation that's happening in that chat forum, how we might take that forward. So thank you very much everyone coming. We've got quite a lot on at Parlour at the moment.
– As Kate said, we have finally launched the survey, which I've told you about for the last two weeks, it is we're getting lots and lots of responses, which is great. It is long, and I know that puts some people off, but all I can say is, get yourself a cup of tea, sit down there tonight with a glass of wine, whatever, take the time to do it. It is long because we actually really want to gather enough data that we can make really meaningful analysis. So we need to know what your situation was before COVID. We need to know what it's looking like during COVID. And we really are very interested to know where and how you think things can change, what's changed for the better that we might want to take forward? So it's detailed, but it's pretty much tick box. So it's detailed, but we really would appreciate it if you can do that. And also, please pass it on.
Looking at the responses, we've got a really fantastic turnout from women between 30 and 50. We really need the men to be taking it too, so do the survey and/or if I can encourage you to pass it on to just one more person and encourage them to do it too, that would be great because that would be a really good way of getting it out beyond our networks.
– Hey, Justine, you could paste the link into the chat view.
– Oh, I could. Naomi, thank you. That would be technology outstanding, that would involve actually having a link ready.
– I'm just going to keep talking while I do that. So we have got our next online Salon next Thursday evening. I think that's going to be really great, we've put that with Loata Ho and Kali Marnane. So book in for that, we've still got spaces for that. We're also, you probably all got email spam from me this morning asking for money. It's the end of the financial year. So we are doing our usual, please support us by donating and becoming a Parlour friend. I know that it's a difficult time for people and we understand that not everybody is in a position to donate, but if you are, please do. All of the stuff we do is made possible because of our partners, who I talk about a lot, but also our friends and we really actually do need to be able to continue that we need to be able to finance it. So thank you for everybody who's donated so far. Again, if you can do, encourage your practice to donate. So this is not just about individuals. Yeah, I just strongarm anyone you can to give us some cash.
So thanks again to Monash, thanks to our Parlour partners in particular AWS. The other thing we are looking at doing is setting up a fairly informal, even more informal than this even online get together for students and recent graduates in particular, and that's being led by Sarah Mare and Bronwyn Maine. And so we'll be announcing details about this soon. Great.
– Shall we do the round of applause. Thank you very much, Kate. That was fantastic. Your time is precious. Thanks for coming. Good. And thank you everyone.
– Happy Friday, everyone.