Ryder Bursary

10 August 2016

The Ryder Bursary was introduced in 1999.  Over the years, Ryder have invested £200,000 supporting over 20 students during their full time studies.  Following a successful Bursary, students are offered a two year development contract for graduates to achieve their professional qualifications.  The scope and commitment provided by the Ryder Bursary has few equals in supporting architectural education and the profession.

This year, the award was presented to Hannah Bryan.  A New Zealander by birth, she studied at Liverpool University, spent her year out in Andy Costa’s team in Ryder’s London office and will soon head to Aarhus University in Denmark for her master of architecture.

Following my first class degree from the University of Liverpool I was ecstatic to gain the opportunity to work with Ryder to gain industry experience. Already in £27,000 of debt following three years of tuition fees, completing a masters at an additional £18,000 was daunting.  However, my passion to delve further into the wide sphere of architecture refused to be dampened and I sought an alternative.  

I didn’t want to compromise my education and I was determined to take the best opportunity available.  I received an offer from Aarhus University, Denmark.  An opportunity to study at one of the top RIBA credited architectural schools in Europe was one I had to take and immediately sought help to fund this.

Ryder came to my rescue but nothing comes on a silver plate and Ryder makes no exceptions.  They teach their graduates to cope in the real world - casting the opportunity of a grappling hook to climb if they have the right attitude, drive and passion.  This comes with a supportive culture, pointing graduates in the right direction and being fully involved in their development.

The process to win the Bursary was tough but supportive.  Graduates are asked to supply a resume and statement explaining their motivation for applying.  Following this step came an interview with Ryder partner, Gordon Murray, and associates David McMahon and Sarah O’Connor, was held at Ryder’s home - Cooper’s Studio in Newcastle.  Here we presented a portfolio of our work during our time at university and Ryder.

Friends who I had completed initial training, entered competitions and socialised with were also applying but whilst chatting before our interviews, it was apparent we were still more than competitors.  We were colleagues who provided a network of support, whatever the outcome of the day.  We were a team who had successfully completed our first contract with Ryder and we felt honoured that a reward of such generosity was available to us.

The judging panel had a tough decision on their hands.  The standard of graduates employed by Ryder is high and with a range of exciting projects under our belts the graduate cohort has been filled with confidence and soared in ability.

For me, winning the Ryder Bursary means a chance to explore design at an outstanding university where students are encouraged to transform architectural problems into meaningful solutions.  With no option of a loan from the Danish or English government and no bursary I would have struggled to take this opportunity.  The most exciting part of the Bursary is the chance to follow in the footsteps of the graduates Ryder has invested in before me and be given the opportunity to work for another two years at Ryder after my masters is complete.

Knowing that I can return to a practice that improves people’s lives and strives to improve the quality of the world around us by producing simple, useful and elegant architecture is an opportunity that I still can’t believe I have received.


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