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Architectural training is changing

Architectural Training is Changing

The Architectural Registration Board (ARB) is reforming the ways in which Architects become qualified. The plan is to move away from the current system, which is composed of parts I, II and III. As things stand, the only way to begin training in architecture is to complete an undergraduate degree.

The changes remain in the planning stage, which has included a survey in which 65% of respondents supported the evolution of training and qualifying in architecture. A large-scale consultation with the public, in which further views were sought on amending the way architects become professionals, concluded on 10th May 2023

What is the purpose of the changes?

The process of studying for an undergraduate degree is considered costly in terms of financial resources and the time it takes. For many people, these factors act as barriers to entering the profession. The idea behind changing the ways in which people can qualify as architects is to make the system more inclusive, while continuing to maintain the highest standards of excellence.

The Architects’ Journal describes how the aim is to ‘switch to a more flexible outcomes-based system’. The focus will be on actively using the necessary practical and soft skills to succeed, rather than simply acquiring academic knowledge, which may be more abstract, and less focused on the realities of the job.

The changes will mean that it’s no longer a requirement for prospective Architects to complete an undergraduate degree, and that people who have other related degrees, qualifications or training may be eligible to move into the industry. It will also be possible to become an architect via an apprenticeship scheme. This means that people from a much wider base of economic and professional backgrounds will be able to break into the industry.

    Architectural Training is Changing Architectural Training is Changing

How will Architects qualify after the changes have been made?

The new system will be focused on an outcome-based approach. There will be a total of 49 different outcomes that should be achieved for qualification. These include the following areas:

  • Awareness of, and practical application of health and safety
  • Working with buildings that are already in place for the purpose of modifications
  • Developing answers to design challenges or problems within the limits of a budget
  • Critical evaluation skills
  • Understanding how to manage resources and set fees as well as professional rates
  • Being able to apply ethical and legal considerations to all work undertaken

What is the plan for reform?

In September/October 2023, the ARB is set to publish the new plans for qualifying as an Architect. Between 2024 and 2025, there will be a comprehensive review of how students are assessed. September 2026 should see the last students beginning their part II courses. By September 2028, the new qualifications should be fully in place, with the previous part I, II and III consigned to history.

Are these changes what the industry needs?

The survey and public consultation conducted by the ARB would indicate that the new qualifications are only going to benefit students and the industry itself. However, some people are not so sure about this. Eleanor Jolliffe of Building Design Online believes that the changes aren’t radical enough. She says: ‘The route to registration for your average 18-year old looks likely to be still almost as long and expensive under the new proposals as the old ones’. Jolliffe does concede that those who are changing careers later in life may find the new system will make becoming an Architect much more accessible.

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