Matthew Sweeting

10 July, 2020

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What inspired you to get into the profession and what do you enjoy most about it now?

I loved art at school and thrived at it – a family friend saw this and suggested that I investigate a career in Architecture. I spent a two-week work experience at a local architect’s practice in Essex and I really enjoyed it and was determined to find out more about the profession. This led me to following the traditional seven-year University education route to achieve full RIBA Chartered status. I spent two years at an architectural practice in Derby, before completing my final professional qualification at Pick Everard.

Pick Everard is a firm that supports people at the beginning of their working lives, through apprenticeships as well as internal and external training, This investment is invaluable and it is a privilege to play my part in supporting the firm to develop the careers of our work experience students and graduates and it is something I really enjoy.

Your early career experiences

Having been made redundant from my previous employment I joined our Leicester office as a RIBA Part 2 student. My earliest projects were small domestic and church extensions and it was not long before I made a start in the Custodial Team working on the design of prisons. I spent several years working in a team alongside some great colleagues and managers who gave me the space to grow and develop within the firm.

Your career development at Pick Everard

My highlight of the fifteen-year period I spent in the architect’s team in Leicester culminated in the privilege of being the Lead Consultant Architect on the new build prison HMP Oakwood (c.£190m). This was a massive challenge and a steep learning curve for me at the time, which was something that I thrived on. During my time on this project it was a senior member of the client team who believed that my position on the project should be recognised within Pick Everard – shortly afterwards I was offered a promotion to the role of Associate. After this time, I spent several years as Lead Designer on the Hounslow Schools programme – leading a multi-discipline design team.

In 2018 I made a career change to become a project manager – something which came as quite a natural transition to me. Much of what I do now, as PM, is similar to what I was doing in my lead roles on the Oakwood and Hounslow projects. I am now based in our Glasgow office, a re-location primarily for family reasons.

What do you appreciate most about working at Pick Everard?

Working at Pick Everard I really appreciate the way in which the firm values their staff. Ultimately this comes down to the fact that my colleagues share the same vision as the firm  – having “a passion that drives them to do the right thing, inspiring others to deliver better outcomes for our clients, and being accountable for our environment and communities”. So often I have found that adopting this attitude engenders the same desire in our external consultants and clients “to do the right thing”.

 Projects that have inspired you and why

Being involved in a prominent role on HMP Oakwood and the early stages of the HMP Wellingborough project was inspiring, mainly because of their scale and value – perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was both demanding and thrilling to rise to the challenge of such major projects. The scale of these projects attracted highly skilled people from other organisations; a stimulating and creative team was soon formed which grew stronger as the projects developed. It was a great privilege to be involved.

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