ARB report reveals overwhelming support for modernising initial education & training
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Tuesday 7 June 2022: The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has today published ‘Modernising initial education and training: analysis report on ARB’s IET survey’. This 50-page report details original evidence collected through ARB’s survey to shape its ongoing review of initial education and training of architects.

If approved, ARB’s modernisation proposals will introduce a new flexible and inclusive approach to education and training in architecture. As well as ensuring that the UK continues to be recognised as a leader in architecture globally, the proposed changes will open up the profession to a wider pool of talent, offering those who might have previously been excluded a new range of routes to qualification and professional practice.

All five parts of the vision ARB set out were endorsed by the majority of the 711 people who completed the survey. ARB’s analysis found that:

  • A flexible and innovative approach was recognised as vital by respondents: 79% agreed with ARB’s vision for institutions, namely that ARB should allow for flexibility and innovation by bodies that provide education and training, ensuring that the UK remains an attractive place to study.
  • Different routes into the profession would be welcomed: 79% also agreed with ARB’s vision for future architects, namely that changes should enable anyone with the right competencies to become an architect by a route that is right for them.

The report also details the following findings:

  • An outcomes-based approach: ARB’s proposals set out a new outcomes-based approach, which was welcomed by all the stakeholder groups that responded – 80% either strongly agreed or agreed. The ARB Board therefore intends to continue to develop reforms to education and training based on its view that the most important consideration is what a newly qualified architect knows, what they can do and how they behave, not how they got there.
  • A change in structure: 65% of all respondents agreed with ARB’s proposal that the structure of education and training needs to change from the current approach of Parts 1,2 and 3. Architecture students were most likely to agree with the need for change (94%) followed by related professionals working in the built environment (90%) and over half (55%) of architects. Of the architects who responded, only 22% disagreed with the need for change.
  • The need for practical experience: respondents described the need to change the practical experience or training requirements as they are currently set up, to help improve the development opportunities for future architects, and how easy it is to access these opportunities. Respondents also expressed a desire for more flexible ways of learning and training, and the need to explore how to reduce the cost and time it takes to qualify.

Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar at ARB, commented:

“This positive response has confirmed our direction of travel. It marks a clear endorsement for the proposals ARB is making in terms of modernising education and training in architecture and in particular introducing more flexible routes into the profession as well as making architecture more diverse, equal and inclusive.

The enthusiastic support from those who have responded to this survey, as well as through the many engagement meetings we have had over the previous six months, gives us confidence to continue our detailed policy development work to modernise the regulation of the initial education and training for architects.”

In the next phase of engagement and policy development ARB will develop new outcomes for the initial education and training of architects, standards for institutions and an updated accreditation model. Within this ARB will consider what changes to the structure of education will enable wider access to architecture without compromising on the quality of architects. These proposals will not be developed in isolation: ARB will engage experts and continue to share ideas as they evolve, listening to the views of architects, academics, students, and others working in the architecture sector over the next six months. ARB will launch a full public consultation in 2023, once its proposals are more developed.

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Notes for Editors

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. It is accountable to government. The law gives ARB a number of core functions:

  • To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. ARB does this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
  • ARB maintains a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
  • ARB sets the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
  • ARB protects the legally restricted title ‘architect’.

Read the report: “Modernising initial education and training: Analysis report on ARB’s IET survey 2 October 2021 to 10 January 2022

Each of the five aspects of ARB’s vision for success for modernising initial education and training received high levels of support. These were:

Public – 88% support – Ensure that anyone joining the Register is equipped to design a built environment that reflects the needs of society so that people can be safe and live well, and helps to tackle the fundamental challenges our planet faces.

Profession and employers – 92% support – Provide future architects with skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours that they can develop and apply throughout their career.

Institutions – 79% support – Allow for flexibility and innovation by bodies that provide education and training, ensuring the UK remains an attractive place to study.

Future architects – 79% support – Enable anyone with the right competencies to become an architect by a route that is right for them.

Regulatory – 80% support – Through an effective and proportionate quality assurance model, give clarity about the accountability of ARB, the institutions, and students.

For questions and information requests, please contact ARB Communications Officer Kate Burnett on +44 (0) 20 7580 5861 (ext 6549) or email kateb@arb.org.uk