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RIBA finally forces member practices to pay minimum wage for students

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The RIBA has today introduced a statutory minimum wage clause covering post-Part 1 students working for architects in the RIBA’s Chartered Practice scheme

Student society Archaos and the RIBA originally mooted amendments to the chartered practice accreditation scheme back in 2009, arguing at the time that the non-mandatory guidance on fair pay did not go far enough to protect working students.

Archaos called for a minimum wage for post-Part 1 students of £8.56 an hour, rising to £10.27 an hour for work in central London. However the new conditions will only impose the statutory miminum - currently £5.93 an hour.

The move, which will protect students undertaking work that is eligible to count towards their PEDR requirements, was agreed at council today (24 March) following recommendations from the RIBA’s Pay and Conditions working group.

The change to criteria will be made with immediate effect, and will be applicable to all RIBA Chartered Practices from 1 July 2011. In addition, a series of ‘in-depth consultations’ will take place through 2011 with students of architecture, RIBA Chartered Practices and other key stakeholders to consider appropriate rates of pay for students and graduates that are higher than the statutory minimum wage, ‘while taking into consideration factors such as regional variances.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said: ‘While we all appreciate that trading conditions are extremely difficult for practices at the moment, the financial position of students is particularly severe and about to get considerably worse when fees treble next year.

‘The requirement for adherence to the National Minimum Wage will assist students in completing their education and go some way to alleviate the effects of the education cuts on the flow of talent into the profession. The future of architecture depends on a succession of talented designers and we must do all we can to prevent them being deterred by the spiralling cost of education. Further investigation into pay levels will be undertaken which will help to provide a level playing field for job costs and fee bids for chartered practices’

RIBA Council Student member Alex Scott-Whitby said: ‘This move is fantastic news for students and has been a long time coming; it is great to see the RIBA taking the first step towards better remuneration for both students of architecture and qualified architects. The practices adhering to the RIBA’s kitemark scheme recognise the important contribution that students make, and are supporting the profession in a vitally important way at this time.’

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