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New graduates are not up to scratch, says profession

Newly-qualified architects are falling a long way short of the profession's expectations, according to new research issued by the RIBA last week. In a survey of 225 experienced architects, two thirds said that they are not 'totally confident' in the skills and abilities of newly-qualified architects until they have been working for at least two years.More than half of that number said that it takes longer than three years until new starters become confident.

RIBA vice president for education Paul Hyett attributed the problem to schools' failure to teach technical and construction skills.'One of the areas of concern must be the continued drift away from institutions' teaching of technology, 'he said.'The colleges have got to shift the focus of teaching by having tutors with experience and interest [in these areas]. There are some heads of school who do not have a sufficient understanding of practice.'

RIBA director of education Leonie Milliner admitted: 'We have got a lot of work to do to make sure students are better prepared for practice.'

The perception of experienced architects contrasted strongly with that of architects who have been qualified for less than three years.Fourfifths of new architects believe their education prepares them well for a career in architecture.

The figures were released in advance of next year's revision of the RIBA's educational guidelines.

Practice management skills are clearly lacking and almost all (92 per cent) of newly qualified architects said that Parts 1 and 2 have prepared them poorly for bidding for fees and negotiating contracts.Having completed Part 3, only a quarter of students consider themselves unprepared, however.Similarly, professional studies and management is the area of the curriculum most new architects believe should be improved.

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