If you are considering a career in architecture, but you’re not sure if studying full-time at university is for you – or if you’ve completed part of your architect training and want to earn a salary whilst undertaking the next step – then a degree apprenticeship could be the right route for you. Or are you an employer, wanting to give your staff the opportunity to learn new skills? With the potential to attract those who have never previously considered a career in architecture or attending university, as well as enabling practices to develop existing staff in different roles, apprenticeships represent a significant step on the path towards a more socially inclusive architectural profession.
Apprenticeships are a devolved policy. This means that authorities in each of the UK nations manage their own apprenticeship programmes, including how funding is spent on apprenticeship training.
If you’re an employer with operations in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may also want to contact your apprenticeship authority:
Two architecture degree apprenticeships routes are available, both approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education:
- Architectural Assistant, including Part 1 qualification
- Architect, which includes Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications
Apprenticeships combine practical experience in the workplace with academic training provided by a university. A minimum of 20% of the apprentice's contracted hours must be spent undertaking this formal, 'off-the-job' training.
Any practice can offer an apprenticeship, with funding for training costs available from the apprenticeship levy on all large UK employers, or directly from the government who will fund up to 90% (due to increase to 95% later in the year) of the training costs in smaller firms. Levy paying employers can also transfer unused levy funds to smaller employers.
Employers are solely responsible for salaries. There is guidance online regarding taking on an apprentice and are encouraged to use the GOV.UK Find an Apprenticeship service to advertise any apprenticeship vacancies.
If you are interested in undertaking an apprenticeship, your first step is to secure an offer of an apprenticeship with an employer. The RIBA is encouraging all employers to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies with the National Apprenticeship Service but you could also contact practices in your local area to see whether there are any opportunities. You can use the RIBA’s database of Chartered Practices or our database of Chartered Members and you can also register your interest with universities, as they may be able to link you to practices who have expressed an interest in partnering with them.
The following universities are currently offering the degrees which form part of apprenticeship training, with several others due to join them from September 2019. Some universities may only be able to offer places to apprentices whose employers pay the apprenticeship levy (contact them to find out more).
Level 6 Architectural Assistant Apprenticeship:
Level 7 Architect Apprenticeship: