Helping architectural community meet CPD requirements
Architect, Byrom Clark Roberts
Since completing Part 2, Jonathan Morrison has worked at large practices in London and smaller practices in the north of England on private sector and more recently not-for-profit projects. However, it is his work helping the wider architectural community to meet their CPD requirements that has earned him a place on this year’s Rising Stars shortlist.
While working for Integreat Plus in Sheffield, Morrison found that the cost and time of travelling to the nearest CPD Core City, Leeds, made regular CPD attendance unfeasible. The free CPD sessions offered by companies in the RIBA product directory were also unachievable due to the small numbers in the office. Assuming other similar size practices in the city were encountering the same challenges, he formulated the idea of the Sheffield CPD Network. The principle was simple: bring smaller practices together to provide a regular and local CPD opportunity that was free to attend. It would boost local knowledge and provide the opportunity for those in small practices to communicate with their peers, and discuss projects, challenges and opportunities for collaboration.
Morrison got the RIBA Yorkshire’s regional director and the Sheffield Society of Architects (SSA) on board and the plan was for the CPD Network sessions to complement the Core Sessions from the RIBA, in terms of content and dates.
A free monthly programme was devised. The first session took place in January and the group has since had six more including topics such as ‘Breathing Buildings’, ‘Energy Conservation: Towards Zero Carbon’ and ‘Fire Safety In commercial Buildings’. Future sessions include ‘BIM In Small Practice’ and ‘Heritage Reform in the UK’. The content is targeted to a smaller practice audience but it regularly gets attendees from the larger national ones. At every session the network asks attendees for suggestions for future talks, so it is gathering a database of issues that local practices face and identifying knowledge gaps. Attendance is usually 20-25 people per session and this is growing as people become more aware of the service. Due to the donations of space from different members of the SSA, the group has been able to offer the service for free, including lunch.
The Sheffield CPD Network has met the RIBA again to discuss how it can complement the Core CPD provision further. This will hopefully lead to larger joint events. Morrison hopes that similar initiatives could be rolled out in other areas and cities.
What would you most like to improve about the industry?
I would like to see a fair, inclusive, diverse, responsible and locally focused industry. An industry that can easily identify problems and propose solutions that can contribute positively to local communities, economies and networks. In particular, I would like to see incentives for improving work/life balance and championing mental health to tackle stress and depression that is all too prevalent in the profession.
Who would you most like to work with?
I enjoy working with local individuals, groups and communities, getting a deep sense of how a scheme can dramatically affect context (physically and emotionally). Intensive research into location, site and community must be undertaken at the outset of every project, ensuring the formative stages are accessible to all. I have always admired the work of Alison Brooks Architects in this regard.