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RIBA Part 3 debate

Without experience students cannot qualify, so how can we avoid a ‘lost generation’?

‘Recent graduates will find the recession an unwelcome novelty,’ says RIBA director of education David Gloster, in reference to the final hurdle to qualifying as an architect: RIBA Part 3.

Part 3 requires students to clock up a minimum of 24 months’ experience and undergo formal assessment to demonstrate a number of competencies based on the RIBA Plan of Work. So, not only do students need to find a job, they need to find the right kind of job – almost impossible in the current economic climate.

‘Part 3 still reflects the culture and nostalgia for an apprentice-based system. Its requirements have been fiddled with but never properly interrogated nor reformed since the late 1950s,’ says Alastair Robertson, professional studies advisor at the Architectural Association.

The course is now under review but if, how and why its content and format should be adapted to reflect the needs of modern practice, is hotly debated.

At the recent Association of Professional Studies Advisors in Architecture (APSAA) conference in Dublin, the consensus was pro change, with the caveat that professional standards must not be undermined. Schools are doing their best to maintain industry engagement with students who >> have been let go and as a result risk losing their case study projects and block of experience.

‘Young professionals have already committed at least six years to architecture, building up debt and investing a huge amount of intellectual capital. If they are not supported, it is likely that this talented group of students will go elsewhere – as they did in the last recession,’ says Stephen Brook­house, Part 3 course leader at the University of Westminster.

Westminster has won £400,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to support unemployed and under­employed built environment professionals during the recession but there is only so far individual schools can go, as ultimately it is professional bodies that determine the qualification.

While RIBA has a number of initiatives under way, the Architects Registration Board felt it would be ‘premature to put forward specific proposals.’

While the time it takes to qualify might not be an issue for those already in practice, the title ‘architect’, and with it the extra pay and ability to set up on their own, is what most students are aiming for. But the recession’s impact on employment prospects has just moved the goalposts.

 

The AJ asked key stakeholders: How should Part 3 change? Read their opinions in ‘related stories’, right.

Readers' comments (3)

  • ...meanwhile EU nationals with less experience can swan into an offices saying "i have my 'part 3'...we get it on graduation..."

    It is not a level playing field!

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  • I remember reading a statement from the RIBA that should a UK student challenge the ARB's right to prevent their registration without achieving RIBA Part 3 while allowing it by other EU nationals they would most likely suceed as it is irrational.

    Perhaps the lost generation should find themselves in court. it would be good dispute resolution experience for the logbooks in any case.

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  • I am a part 2 and have been working for the past 3 years and i am also international. i have been redundant for the past 11 months and that was the second time as i was also made redundant in a previous office in august last year. both times i was amongst the first people to be made redundant and the majority was from international countries and not eu.
    my question is what can we do to get our part 3 as we are tied up with a work permit from the home office which is dependent on us having work. if we dont have work then we are given about 28 days to find something else or go back to your home country.
    i have spent thousands of pounds in studying architecture for the 5 years at university and when it suddenly comes to getting my work experience and due to circumstances completely out of my hand i was made redundant and no one cares how i will get qualify.
    at the present time i found myself trying to do any job i can get my hands on and if the home office finds out i no longer have a work permit ( which you remployer has to inform them) then i would be asked to leave the country. i wrote a letter to the RIBA explaining my circumstances and wanted to meet others in the same situations but all the RIBA could tell me was that they could not help me in anyway apart than telling me that they are not a body that helps in those matters.
    i would like to hear from anyone in similar circumstance and what or who could we approach or do to resolve this matter urgently. i found myself now forced to go back with no qualification in my pockest and all my parents financial help and my loans left for me to pay but with no rewards and no jobs

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