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On Friday 7th July the year 12 started their super learning day with an inspirational speech from Russell Edwards, head designer at Pocket. After the speech I had the chance to meet up with him to ask some further questions about his career and how it came to be.

I started with the basic question of ‘what made you want to become an architect?

Russell answered ‘From a young age I had always loved drawing and sense of space. My family have always been involved with the army, but my dad wanted me to go to university, so it was a no brainer of what I wanted to be.’

Russell gave the advice of ‘if you don't know what to do at uni, just do something you enjoy and are good at, the quality in which you complete your course is more important than what degree you get at the end of it. Uni gives you opportunities as well as skills on living on your own and starting to become independent.’

During the talk Russell mentioned a lot about studying abroad, that led to my next question of “Is it worth taking a year work placement abroad at Uni?

Without any hesitation Russell straight away said ‘YES !! Studying abroad made me a much more rounded person. Whilst away you have make new friends and get to experience new types of culture, furthermore it gave me new contacts that I could use in the future when working.’

As Russell interviews people for getting new jobs I asked By doing extra curriculum activities such as D of E, dose it make you stand out from the rest of the crowd?

Again without much hesitation Russell nods his head ‘When I interview and hear that the person has taken their own time to do extra curriculum things such as D of E or work experience, it shows that the person is a real worker and is prepared  for challenges. You can always tell whether an employer has taken extra curriculum activities as well, when working they are much more understanding of their colleagues and tend to work better in a team. As an instructor for D of E, I learned how it was important to guide and lead people so that they stayed safe and understood clearly their challenge. Furthermore, when it comes down to picking  between two people for a job, who have the same grades and degree, I instantly look to see what activities they have taken up themselves, as I know the person with the most will be the most well rounded.’

Moving on to Russell’s life now, I was interested as to what his company ‘Pocket’ does and how it helps people within London.  Russell explained ‘‘Pocket’ is an architect/building company that produces flats with a 20% discount for people earning a mid-range salary, mainly wanting to buy their first house, but cannot afford it as the house prices in London are high. It is a challenging job, as you are trying to design these small apartments with as much space as possible, but as I said before I have always had a good awareness of space, and by applying my architecture skills, the company can come up with a modern spacious place for residents to live. It is a tough job, but it’s a really rewarding job-making someone’s life that little bit better.

Finally, to end the interview I asked the question ‘Did you ever feel unsure or nervous when making a career choice?

“I don't think you would be human, if you did not feel nervous. It is a big decision, when I decided to do architecture at uni, it was completely different from what I expected, I still did not know 6 months into the course whether it was the right decision. However, I was good at it and it was something I was passionate about, whether or not it was something I expected it to be like or not. Even from when I swapped from being an architect, to head of design, which earned more money and gave me a wider career path, I was still unsure. Saying that, I have always been ambitious and have always wanted to go onto the next thing. It’s normal to feel nervous when entering an environment you are not aware of, as long as you are passionate and driven, you will not fail, it will work out.’

From interviewing Russell, I have learned three important things. Firstly, that when choosing a course or job, you should do the subject that you love and that grabs your attention, as you will be studying it for three years or more at uni and later in life. Secondly that you should grab every opportunity that is laid in front off you up, everything you do will make you more cultured and will enable you to have another outlook on life. Finally, the most important thing, is just to go for it. If you never take risks then you will never get anywhere, life is full off them and if you’re never brave enough to take that extra step, you will stay stuck in that same place forever.


Interview by Eve Norman