Mentoring: Iman's story

About Shape My City’s Mentor programme
The Architecture Centre’s Shape My City programme also provides the opportunity for Shape My City participants to receive one-to-one mentoring with an approachable built environment professional. This support is longer term, informal and flexible and helps support the young person with more targeted guidance. Help can be offered for a specific school/college project or portfolio, as well as advice and support with work experience, university applications, interviews and career paths.      

Why is it useful for a young person to have a mentor?
For a young person having a mentor can be invaluable, receiving support and knowledge from professionals in the field can help them succeed in their studies, gain insight and confidence and encourage them to and go onto to further education in the built environment and creative sectors. Young people can be inspired by their mentors, getting advice from a professional working in the field can help them see their work with a different view, allowing them to push themselves and create exceptional work. 

Iman’s story
Iman (20, Shape My City 2014 participant) was mentored by Elena Marco (Head of Department, Architecture and the Built Environment, University of the West of England) on her A2 Design Technology Project, a hurricane resistant home.  Elena was the live client for Iman’s project, giving it a real-life feel.  Iman said:

I was asked to look for a live client for my project, which was Elena as she is a professional and knows the Architecture field very well. I had to do a lot of research about specific shapes and materials to enable my home design to function correctly without it being damaged from the hurricane winds debris.

It was useful for me to have Elena by my side with this project as she helped me think about the functionality of the model, but also make it look aesthetically pleasing to get the highest marks possible for my project, Elena also showed me many examples of previous homes which helped me further my research and think of more creative ways to design my hurricane resistant home.
 I visited Elena about 5 times during my A level project to get feedback about my work and to see what can be improved from her point of view. I also collected comments and videos of her talking about my designs to go over my project and make improvements. 

Her feedback allowed my project to be much better than it otherwise would have been as Elena has a lot of knowledge about architecture and also books and websites that she showed me to take inspiration from and research for my project which led me to getting an A* for my project overall.'

Iman has gone on to study Architecture at the University of Manchester and hopes to carry on to a Masters and work in the field in the near future. 

Elena Marco (mentor) on mentoring Iman:
‘It was a pleasure to help a young and enthusiastic student to achieve an exceptional grade in her A levels. Iman was receptive to feedback and more importantly willing to learn and keep improving her scheme. 

I believe that someone like myself, who leads a department of architecture and the built environment, needs to help the younger generations to make career choices that will lead them to outstanding jobs. By mentoring students through their A levels I hope to make a small contribution. 

This year I am mentoring another student through their A levels and I hope to continue making a small contribution that will lead to developing outstanding future designers.’