As the year moves definitely towards a close it would be remise of me not to acknowledge the contribution our membership has made in continuing to guide, reshape and charge the organisation forth to reach new goals. More so, it is encouraging to see the growing diversity of this participation from members whether it be professional background, gender, age, and ethnicity. To all members, thank you for your input, energy and confidence in your Institute and for continuing to work alongside our fabulous CEO and National Office staff who have proven they can get things done!
Some of those members closest to my neck of the woods are the student graduates, who, have recently finalised their last projects, compiled their portfolios and cv’s and are now actively looking for employment within local practices and government organisations.
I ask you to cast your mind back to remember this time in your life and the often difficult, enthralling and daunting task ahead of you as you are unleashed into the profession.
One of our strategic priorities is building a ‘sustainable membership growth’ and one opportunity to support this priority as a member is to help ensure ‘we’ (the profession) are ready to mentor these graduates. Mentorship involves guiding, supporting, and inspiring our graduates to fall in love with landscape architecture. There are many ways mentorship can take place, either as a direct employer, confident or active participant within your State Chapter.
At the Festival in October, I had many positive and encouraging conversations with practice leaders who spoke passionately about wanting to take on graduate (and even student) landscape architects. It was tremendous to hear these people speak of the opportunity to train and shape students and graduates and the benefit this can have to their own organisation. However, recognising that this is not always possible, I encourage you to still find a way to offer support so we can collectively build this next generation of practitioners – many whose enjoyment of landscape architecture practice is often fostered in their first few years of experience.
One way is to encourage these early career professionals to take up graduate membership and enable them to engage with their local AILA Fresh representatives. Further, ask your State Executive what you can do to help them harness the talent within this next group. Finally, go and say hello to one of those ‘younger’ folk at your upcoming Christmas party, many of them are new to networking and often need to be approached first.
Finally, to those who have graduated – Congratulations and welcome. The Board looks forward to getting to know you and your stories as you are unleashed across the country and for the lucky few, abroad. We look forward to beginning to support and guide you in the rewarding career of landscape architecture.
In other news;
We have a packed agenda for the upcoming December board meeting, with several committees putting items forward for consideration. I would also like to extend a huge thank to the recent NART accreditation team of Graham Fletcher, Maria Rigoli and Deb Eastment who recently visited UTS for a 1-day interim visit. Similarly thanks also extends to the UTS team especially Simon Kilbane for hosting and facilitating this visit.AILA's mission regarding accreditation is to evaluate, advocate for and advance the quality of landscape architecture education across all universities - and we could not do this without valuable contributions from the NART team. If you wish to learn more about accreditation and get involved - please see the website here.
Finally, for those of you flying Virgin Australia across in the coming weeks for Christmas celebrations make sure you check out AILA’s 50th documentary which is being featured in their inflight entertainment.
Best Wishes to all as your year comes to an end.
Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard
AILA National Secretary