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Claire Barton

Claire Barton, 1988 to 1992

What do you do now?
I trained for seven years to be an architect and am now a partner in an architectural practice in London and we design schools!

How did you get into this line of work?
I always enjoyed art when I was at Westholme but somehow the idea of going on to be an artist just did not suit me, I needed something with a bit more discipline. I decided that architecture was the perfect combination of structure with creativity, so I went to the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne to do by BA (Hons) in Architecture then onto Oxford School of Architecture to do my Diploma.

Has it been difficult in a traditionally mans world?
The construction industry is notorious for being male dominated , you do have to stand your ground and ooze confidence. Our practice is now 50% men and 50% women but I still have to sit in large design team meetings where I am the only women and the only person under 30!

What does it take to be successful?
I am not really sure I know the key to success all I do know is that I believe in working hard and things dont just come to you on a plate. I also feel very strongly that while being confident you should also ask questions and be honest about what you know and dont know. I am very lucky that I work with an amazing team of young people who work hard but are also supportive and I can call friends.

Any advice for Westholme girls today?
I think that it is extremely important that people aim for the best and keep their aspirations for the future high. Aspirations and dreams are hugely motivating. Enjoying what you do is also key you are always better at things you like doing so find your strengths.

I believe in keeping strong ties with all your friends. I am working pretty hard at the moment trying to climb that career ladder but having the weekends to meet up with friends and let off steam makes it all worthwhile.