Q&A with Eliza

Eliza is returning to University following her placement year at Deacon Design; we’ve caught up with her to hear more about her experiences over the year with us! Hopefully this will inspire other graduates to follow in her footsteps, and learn more about the process.

QA with Eliza - work placement at Deacon Design

What are some key experiences you have taken away from your year placement at Deacon Design?

During my time at Deacon Design, I’ve been able to work on a variety of different projects that have developed my understanding of professional landscape architecture. A particular project has been a Memorial Garden in Worthing where I’ve had the opportunity to follow it through the different stages of work and be a key member of the design team.

Additionally, I’ve been supported through my year working by the welcoming team, and had the chance to learn from them and the diverse range of expertise and experience that they bring to the company.

During your Placement Year with Deacon Design, what areas do you feel you have developed on most?

Increased confidence:
I have increased confidence in dealing with clients both virtually and face to face, I feel more comfortable discussing design ideas with clients / project managers / other professionals / colleagues, because it is a day-to-day practice that I have got much better at. I’ve also gained confidence in my ability to work independently and take initiative where appropriate.

Increased career focus / ambition:
Throughout my year in practice, I have become much more career focused and have learnt a lot more about career progression within the industry of landscape architecture. My time working in a private practice has given me a clearer sense of direction within my career by both inspiring me to progress within this specific field as well as to gain wider experience working in different sectors.

Time management:
One of the greatest areas of improvement in my personal development has been my time management skills. I have had to adapt to meeting the changing deadlines set by clients and / or management within set working hours, this differs greatly to the set deadlines and highly flexible working hours as a student, therefore encouraging a greater level of flexibility and organisation.

Adapting to flexibility:
Working full-time has increased my ability to manage my own workload when required, I have also ensured that I remain flexible in allowing project deadlines and work timetables to be managed for me by both e.g., clients and practice management.

Eliza's drawing plans
One of Eliza's ideas

What are aspects of yourself you feel that have improved over the year within your personal development?

Software proficiency:
I’ve massively increased my proficiency in using different computer softwares due to the necessity of everyday use in my job. I frequently use AutoCAD, Keyscape, Photoshop, InDesign, and SketchUp to create both technical drawings and preliminary graphics.

Learning new things:
Through my job I have liaised with other professionals frequently and have therefore learnt more about other fields and disciplines. This has increased my understanding and interest in the wider fields of design and environment. Subjects I’ve gained more interest and knowledge in include: Urban design, landscape planning, landscape policy, LVIA, ecology, and landscape heritage.

Increased / wider understanding:
I’ve had the opportunity to progress my understanding of topics that are of interest to me e.g., ecology, sustainability, and environment. This will help me both in my final year at university as well as in my professional career as it has given me both drive and direction. I have worked with colleagues who are/have been going through chartership and have gained a better understanding of the process and what is required to begin the procedure. This will help me if I decide to go for chartership in the future.

I have participated in various CPD’s throughout my placement year, the CPD’s I have attended have given me more specific knowledge on products which will be beneficial to future design work. I’ve also attended several trips to site with the rest of the staff as part of employee training, this has help me to learn from other landscape designs as well as critiquing previous projects to see what can be learnt.

Eliza - plans
Eliza - drawing

For those considering a degree in Landscape Architecture; would you recommend a placement year?

I’d say that I’d recommend Deacon Design for placements in practice because of the small and friendly team – you get proper one-on-one mentorship from the directors and the opportunity to get experience in a wide range of projects. I’d definitely recommend it over a larger, more corporate design company for that reason alone. I’ve been able to have considerable variety in the work undertaken over the last year on a daily basis, and to be able to take part in the creative elements, not just technical ones. It has helped me understand the field of study greatly and I look forward to contunuing my education of Landscape Architecture!

All of us at Deacon Design wish the best of luck to Eliza as she continues her studies!
Keep an eye out, Eliza will go far.