“Mission: Possible” – The 2012 AIBC Intern Architect Committee Event Summary

This year, the AIBC Intern Architect Committee, with support from AIBC staff, coordinated a moderated panel discussion to examine the various routes to registration as well as the hurdles encountered by intern architects. The panel featured two newly registered architects and two IAs close to completing the Internship in Architect Program: Paul Fast Architect AIBC; David Zeibin Architect AIBC; Lisa Kwan IA.AIBC and Kent Grier IA.AIBC. The panel was meticulously moderated by IAC member Derek DeLand IA.AIBC. Invited guests included architecture students, syllabus students, intern architects, members of the AIBC Registration Board and AIBC staff.

The evening began with introductions followed by short overviews of their career paths to date. It quickly became clear that although all four panelists were graduates of the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, each had a very different story to tell – from volunteering in Africa to being a stay-at-home parent or working in firms overseas. It confirmed what we already knew: there is no stereotypical route to registration, and maintaining a work/life balance as an IA is incredibly difficult.

Questions from the moderator revealed one overriding message: building strong working relationships with the supervising architect, other firm colleagues and personal mentor is critical to success within the Internship in Architecture Program. The panel agreed that a proactive IA who takes control of his/her own IAP “destiny” is likely to be one to gain the most from the experience.

During discussions, the panelists concluded that, in their opinion, the examinations are the primary barrier to registration. However, they were feeling encouraged by the news that the AIBC had recently agreed to participate in the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC). Advice from the panelists for those completing their registration examinations included creating a schedule by booking all of the exams at regular intervals, as well as creating a series of targets. Panelists also voiced concern about the content of programs taught at Canadian architecture schools, feeling that in some cases, newly-graduated individuals are not prepared to join the workplace.

Although there is a feeling that the IAP in B.C. is a long and often drawn out process, the panelists agreed that completing the steps to registration was a beneficial experience that prepared them well for the workplace. Somewhat surprisingly, the panel saw particular value in completing the B.C. required oral review, suggesting that  it would be particularly worthwhile at the conclusion to the IAP.

On the back of the success of this event, and looking forward to 2013, the IAC is hoping to host more events to  engage IAs, students  and newly-registered architects. Comments and suggestions are welcomed at any time, and can be directed to committee members via the AIBC’s Registration & Licensing team at registration@aibc.ca.

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