Mariana Gujas and the QUT Mentor Scheme

By: Steve Nikolaou Date: 2013-08-30

Mariana Gujas and Tom Dawes

Over the past year, Nikolaou Associates has participated in QUTs Career Mentor Scheme, which is aimed at better preparing students for professional work upon graduation. Mariana Gujas (final year Architecture student) was matched with myself as Mentor on the basis of her interest in Retail and Interior Architecture. Significant time was spent going through what it means on a practical level to be offering services in Architecture. Mariana was also introduced to professionals both from within the industry and from fields aligned with Architecture, as well as professionals from companies representing emerging trends in the industry. For instance, many students will not be aware of the degree to which mergers and acquisitions in the past decade have led to the increasing prominence of big engineering/design firms, many with global reach and employing thousands. Tom Dawes (Technical Director, Structural at AECOM) is one industry contributor who gave some of his valuable time to discuss this aspect of the industry, and reflect on his own career. Tom (pictured here with Mariana) was encouraging in his comments, offering that a career in this industry "opens up the world...". Tom also counselled spending the first 15 years or so building up solid project experience, and using this to position yourself for the types of roles and influence you would like to achieve. Tom was of the view that "Knowledge and experience are the only real security you have in a free market". Marianas decision to be part of the QUT Career Mentor Scheme was based on her belief that "it would be an excellent opportunity to gain insight into industry procedures and requirements." Now, as the year is drawing to an end, I am happy to reflect that we can both look back on the experience and consider it to have been a rewarding one. This has been the case not only because of what we have learned from each other, but also because of the input from others who have taken the time to contribute valuable personal insights into the workings of the industry and the factors they consider essential to the creation and maintenance of a successful professional career.