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How should Part 3 change? David Gloster

David Gloster, director of education at the RIBA

Although those involved with the profession for longer know that economic flux is familiar scenery for architects, many recent graduates will find the recession an unwelcome novelty. With this in mind, the RIBA is discussing ways in which the current shortfall in practical training opportunities can be creatively addres­sed, particularly for those wishing to sit the Part 3 examination:

1. Virtual case studies, into which can be fed various demanding real world scenarios, which candidates document and react to. 

2. Continuous assessment, whereby candidates’ development and understanding is checked more frequently by written submissions, and the ‘sudden death’ examination typical of many professional practice courses is eliminated, or partly eliminated. 

3. Some skills can be learnt in other disciplines. Graduates approaching practical training should be offered more latitude in what constitutes loggable work experience.

But what if work is nowhere to be had? The RIBA hostpractice scheme enables recent graduates to get in touch with practices that have spare workstations. A simple memorandum is signed, clarifying that the graduate
is neither employed, nor expected to provide free labour. Ideas, contacts, and opportunities can be traded freely and working relationships developed. Practices and graduates will shortly be able to register their interest in the scheme via the RIBA’s website.

A variant of hostpractice endorsed by the RIBA is being piloted in Yorkshire. This proposes that practices employ students part-time and for half pay, with the remainder of their salary provided by regional development funding.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Your first comment is promising. As part 2 graduates - like myself - living an working in the USA do not stand a chance completing their part 3 remotely. I envy the American graduates, as their system of 7 exams taken at test centers around the world, provide them the convienience of completing their professional studies while working in the UK. All it takes is a short holiday trip to the US and return back to the UK. This system allows them to reach a point where they eventually achieve dual registration (RIBA, AIA). I hope that part of the change takes into consideration distant learning options for part 2 graduates living and working abroad, who do not have UK case studies, can submit a "virtual case study" remotely. I don't mind having tutorials over the phone or skype, participate in the lectures via live webcast and then fly in for the oral exam. Your feedback is welcome.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I'm afraid David, the above is a partial solution to many facets of the problem. The above appears 'flexible' and 'open', but RIBA's recent decision to disallow international students from taking Part 3 courses - even if their overseas parts 1 and 2 are recognised by RIBA - is anything but flexible.

    This decision is in stark contrast to the European Directive - forget that - this is unethical!!! Under the European Directives no institution should disallow anyone from furthering their education. Which this precisely is.

    Until recently, an international student would be able to take a Part 3 course at the same time as applying for their ARB part 1 and 2 equivalence. The evidence of ARB part 1,2 and 3 equivalence would only have to be provided at the point of registration.

    What is the objective behind this decision? This is when the cynical self kicks in... and the rational.

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