Everything you need to know about architecture apprenticeships
Apprentices spend most of their time working at an architectural practice with around a fifth of their time studying. There are regular assessments during and at the end of the programme to test what apprentices have learnt and the level of their professional competence.
Why would you join an architecture apprenticeship?
An architecture apprenticeship may be an option to pursue if you do not want to study architecture at university. It takes seven years to train to be an architect this way (five years of study with two years of work experience) and might not be for everyone. A five-year university course is more expensive to fund than a traditional three-year course.
There are two types of architecture apprenticeship, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): a Level 6 Architectural Assistant Apprenticeship and Level 7 Architect Apprenticeship. Level 6 includes the RIBA Part 1 degree qualification, and Level 7 includes Part 2 and Part 3.
To fully qualify as a chartered architect, apprentices must complete Part 2 and 3. If studying architecture at university Part 1 would equate to a BA or BSc in architecture, Part 2 a Masters or Diploma, and Part 3 a Postgraduate Certificate.
Each of the Level 6 and Level 7 apprenticeship programmes take four years to complete.
However, architecture apprenticeships are sometimes quite hard to find and they are only currently available in England. A Level 6 architecture apprenticeship is a very new course.
What are the benefits of an architecture apprenticeship?
Architecture apprenticeships are popular because apprentices earn a salary while they are training and do not have to pay tuition fees. Apprentices enjoy the financial independence this gives them, as well as the professional mentoring and work experience they receive as part of their training.
It gives apprentices the chance to work on design and construction projects across different sectors, get involved in project management and develop presentation and communication skills.
Where can I sign up to an architecture apprenticeship?
Budding apprentices can look for apprenticeships on the RIBA jobs website and the Find an Apprenticeship platform. It may also be worth contacting universities that offer apprenticeship training directly or approaching your local architectural practice. From time to time the RIBA run networking events where apprenticeship opportunities in architecture and the construction industry may be available.
What can you earn on an architecture apprenticeship?
Salaries for architecture apprentices can vary depending on location and practice, but you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (if you are aged 23 or over), whether you are working or studying. Apprentices who are employed by an RIBA Chartered Practice must be paid at least the relevant level of the Living Wage for apprentices set by the Living Wage Foundation.
What career can I get from this type of apprenticeship?
Completing a Level 6 apprenticeship will qualify you as an Architectural Assistant, so that you are able to work under the supervision of an architect at a practice and assist a practice team on delivering architectural projects. It means you can progress to a Level 7 architecture apprenticeship, the final stage of the apprenticeship programme.
Qualifying as an architect will open up lots of opportunities, whether in independent practices, central and local governments, construction companies, commercial and industrial organisations. As a chartered architect you will be able to lead on projects, planning the design and construction of buildings of all scales and types.