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RIBA announces two new cash handouts for students

RIBA has launched two schemes offering financial support to architecture students during year out placements in the UK and abroad

It comes as the latest RIBA Future Trends Survey warned that students will struggle financially due to the recession, with average student employment level at 55 per cent in comparison with the average year-on-year staffing levels recorded in the April survey of 83 per cent.

The RIBA Walter Parker Bursary will provide 40 bursaries of £500 in 2009/10 each to help students to meet costs such as relocation and travel expenses. The new hardship scheme is aimed at Part 1 students during professional experience.

The bursary complements the RIBA Education Fund which provides financial assistance to students of architecture enrolled in either Part 1 or Part 2.

Meanwhile, the RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship has been extended to support students doing both research and professional experience abroad. Established in 2008 to support student travel towards research, it provides at least one scholarship of up to £5,000 for a period of international professional experience between six and 12 months.

John-Paul Nunes, head of education projects at the RIBA said: ‘We are delighted that we are launching these two funding programmes to support students of architecture doing professional experience at a time of severe financial hardship for students. The results from the recent Future Trend Surveys conducted by the RIBA indicate that there are concerns about the economic welfare of students and the opportunities for them to complete the professional practice component of their architectural education. We hope that these two new initiatives address this serious issue and support students to complete their studies.’

For more information on the schemes, visit here

Readers' comments (7)

  • This year there will be 5000 students graduating this year, approximately 3654 from Part I (UCAS) and 1210 from Part II (AJ).

    Currently, the RIBA's own survey shows that UK offices are employing 45% LESS Part I and II students/graduates than they were last year compared to only 15% less qualified architects in the same period.

    This highlights how unimportant graduates are to the majority of the profession.

    Whilst the funding is ONLY available to those ENROLLED on courses, it leaves the majority of unemployed graduates 'in limbo'. So, for 0.08% of Part I graduate, the RIBA has £500 to offer you. For Part II graduates, they had nothing. So whilst Part I graduates have the reassurance that they can return into academia in one years time, Part II graduates who have no further options as they can’t enrol in Part III without a job are left to twiddle their fingers.... presumably indefinitely.
    What RIBA failed to mention and probably aren’t too proud of is the removal last week of their pHD funding for this coming academic year which amounts to similar financial support as is being offered through these notional grants. Has this money been switched around? Of course the RIBA like to run the line of being ‘committed to education’ at the same time as removing the opportunity and access to support.

    Those who remain in academia are in a relatively comfortable situation already of having access to government grants for fee's and accommodation, maintenance grants for hardship both through their University and the RIBA, and the inevitably financial parental support for what is otherwise an inaccessible career path to many.

    I honestly don't believe it is RIBA's role to subsidise students through these grants and instead they should be addressing the endemic question in the profession:

    -why graduates are unnecessary to practices?

    -why the profession has been hit so hard by the recession? Unlike engineering.

    -why the architects role has diminished in the construction industry and RIBA don’t seem bothered?

    - Why RIBA aren’t carrying out their basic duty to REPRESENT the profession?

    What graduates will see this summer is nominal gestures like this, rather than a strategy to combat this issue of mass-unemployment. This summer will also mark the 175th champagne-a-thon at RIBA HQ in which a sizable budget will be spent on alcohol to ‘wet the whistle’ of the gentlemen (and students) that enjoy frequent this centralised, anarchic institution.

    Unfortunately RIBA are more concerned with their ‘superbrand’ status, expanding the empire overseas and paying exec’s six figures. For anyone who has been a member and paid their ever inflating fees will know, you get naff all for it. And when the going gets tough, central RIBA sort of whimper out into obscurity.

    I genuinely believe the RIBA is a worthwhile institution to the profession, It however appears to decided to try and stay still... no one will notice that it’s not doing anything.... will they?

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  • Speaking from a student point of view, this RIBA funding seems like a pretty good thing. If the 'anonymous' from 23 June is so concerned, why doesn't s/he give students some money?

    The RIBA seems to be doing its bit to help. So why criticise it? I don't think the RIBA is there to sort out the recession, but at least it managed to fundraise to help those who need it.

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  • Why is it that the RIBA don't consider PhD students worthy of support?

    After all, the Institute's official line is that:

    "The RIBA recognizes the capacity of research to unite the study and practice of architecture and to strengthen links between students and the profession; knowledge is any profession’s most precious asset and research is what underpins it, helping our anticipation of the future.
    The Institute is committed to supporting and promoting research in architecture carried out by PhD students, academics and practitioners through schemes including the annual RIBA President's Awards for Research and the RIBA LKE Ozolins Studentship."

    Vapid oratory. Offering an award is no good if nobody can afford to finish a PhD in the first place and the Ozolins - the sole studentship formerly offered by the RIBA for the whole country - is now no more. So in what way does the RIBA supports PhD students in order to enhance the profession's "most precious asset" and link the academy, the profession and practice in "anticipation of the future"?

    Architecture as a discipline is already laughable. The RIBE needs to look up from validation and to real research as something worthy of financial support before this beloved profession of ours designs itself into an irrelevant corner.

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  • Shock horror, Mr Parnell! The RIBA is finally doing something good by giving money to dozens of undergraduate students like me who really need it to get on with professional experience and part ii instead to one PhD student.

    Why is that a bad thing?! Emilia is right. All the people who complain here should just put themselves in students shoes and give them money instead of complaining about architects and the RIBA.

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  • Re: If the 'anonymous' from 23 June is so concerned, why doesn't s/he give students some money?

    That is because if you had read the emphasis of my comment, you may have ascertained that I am myself a Part II graduate, with +£20k debt.

    Which raises another issue that RIBA have and are doing nothing to make the profession more accessible with tuition fees to rise.

    The RIBA are a 'representational body' (i don't know how many times i have that drilled into me at uni) - they should represent the interests of their members.

    Emila, yes I agree with you that RIBA are doing their bit, but do honestly think that helping a minority (0.08%) of a very specific group (mainly Part I grads.) will help relieve the situation? What about the remaining 99.2% of student graduates who won't receive a penny, or the 45% of Part I and II graduates already out of work?! Is that tough luck... sorry everyone but RIBA has spent its allotted money on its select 40 students... ps. do you want to sign up to be a graduate member?

    Yes RIBA are doing something, but I honestly believe it is misguided. They have been promising to produce a list of practices willing to open up their studios for months and month to 'partner' with graduates, but that hasn't happened. How long does it take? They either have a list of practices willing to, or they don’t.

    I agree with Steve Parnell, RIBA on one the one hand believes in furthering education and the development of the profession through doctorate studies, yet removes funding to its own pHD funding in the same paragraph of David Gloster’s comments last week and offers no support to them. Which one is it?

    If I had even a fraction of what the RIBA has to spend (lets not forget that I believe they still fund Archaos who have conveniently disappeared off this planet now that students required some direction) I would implement a system of getting graduates back into studio's partnering with architects, or design companies (there’s certainly enough empty desks) and aiming to the tackle the psychological impact of what it truly feels like to arrive at the end of over six years of study to a job market that is vacant at best, unrepresented by my professional representational body and encourage students to be active by whatever means whether that will make them money in the immediate future or not.
    Unfortunately, what we are witnessing is RIBA being caught out one year after the ‘hit’ of the recession with no sustainable direction for a very large number of its members and future.

    What can we do? Quick someone throw some money at it! It’ll soon go away.

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  • Hi guys,

    I am one of the committee members of the Education Trust Funds Committee, ex student rep and past co-chair of Archaos.

    To clarify one very important aspect of this debate. The monies made available this week have come from the Walter Parker Bursary. This is a sum of money that has been donated to the RIBA to manage and to award in this manner. In other words there is not a bottomless pit of money from this corner of the RIBA. It is an extremely generous donation.

    Yes this particular bursary offers an opportunity to a small proportion of students but this is not the only opportunity to seek hardship assistance from the RIBA, it is one of many.

    The cold hard fact is that the profession has taken a substantial hit. It has resulted in redundant Architects and the difficult fact is that graduate students and higher academic studies will also be forced into difficult situations.

    I am not in a position to comment about the wider RIBA resource, but the Education Trust Fund Committee devote their entire resource available to these matters and do work very hard to encourage people to help finance the hardship funds.

    I agree with many of the other points made, but I would urge people not to be to hard on the RIBA, we are all experiencing difficult times, myself included.

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  • As someone else said - this is little other than a publicity stunt by RIBA... a nominal gesture... a dip in the ocean.

    I sat listening to Radio 4 this morning who where discussing the 1m people aged under 25 unemployed. A psycologist was commenting that the effects of being unemployed over a long period at a young age are 'seriously damaging' (in relation to that of being unemployed at a later age) saying that many people never recover from the effects.

    If the RIBA was actually concerned with representing the MAJORITY of its graduate members then it start by looking at whatever ways it could begin to employ young people, not giving away nominal grants to a select few.

    Meanwhile you have bodies like Archaos recieving money from the RIBA to represent students.... you may notice that they have done one of those dissapearing acts.

    Will the money be diverted to help the students elsewhere... probably not. In adddition, tuition fees are set to rise in 2011... RIBA's reaction...............................................................................................................................(nothing). But Sunand Prasad was on the Radio 4 yesterday to discuss the pressing issue of......................... drum roll please............................................................................ the heatwave..... yes the rise in temperatures and how we might one day put shades on the outside of our houses.

    THE RIBA - Out of touch, unconcerned and spending your money.

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