The first group of architectural apprentices will start at leading practices such as AHMM, Hawkins\Brown and PRP next month as a major new sector initiative gets underway
Practices AtelierWest, GPA (Get Planning and Architecture), Ingleton Wood, and To-Do Design are also pioneering two types of apprenticeships as a route into the profession in collaboration with London South Bank University.
The university is one of five offering places from September the new programme for those with an employment offer from a participating practice, created in response to the government’s Apprenticeship Levy.
De Montford, Northumbria, Oxford Brookes and Portsmouth are also offering the level seven qualification, equivalent to RIBA Parts 2 and 3.
However, only London South Bank will offer the Level 6 apprenticeship, equivalent to the existing degree level qualification.
Potential apprentices are required to have a placement secured at an architectural practice before being interviewed by the university.
The new ‘earn while you learn’ approach provides both work experience and tuition-free academic training, with apprentices also receiving a salary.
London Southbank said the apprentices would be ‘fully integrated’ with the other students within its architecture and built environment faculty, but that students would spend the majority of their time working in practice.
Charles Egbu, dean of London South Bank’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment, said: ‘We are excited to be in the frontline of positive changes to architectural education.
‘These apprenticeship courses will provide an alternative, more cost-effective route to ARB registration, while diversifying the profession and strengthening ties between the architectural industry and academia.’
London Southbank reminded students that applicants were required to hold an offer of employment from a practice that supports Level 6 apprentices. It added it was ‘very happy’ to match interested employers with suitable candidates.
From April 2017, firms with wage bills of more than £3 million a year have been charged 0.5 per cent of their total wage bill to fund new apprenticeships.
Firms can now apply for funding to pay for the training and assessment of apprenticeships. Smaller firms, which do not pay the levy, are eligible for grants of 90 per cent of their assessed funding needs.
Another seven universities are set to offer courses in the near future and aLL Design and To Do Design are also in talks with London South Bank.
The architecture sector’s apprenticeships initiative has been planned and implemented by a group of 20 ‘trailblazer’ practices led by Foster + Partners (see AJ 27.07.18).