These FAQs have been put together to assist institutions which are aiming to develop provision as part of the architect and/or architectural assistant degree apprenticeships.
We will add to the FAQs and update them as the Prescription Committee and the ARB Board’s policies evolve in relation to this area. We have also published FAQs for potential apprentices here.
We would strongly encourage institutions which are starting to develop their provision in relation to either or both of the apprenticeships to contact the Qualifications Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the earliest opportunity.
For more information on the standards and end point assessments (EPAs) please see the Institute of Apprenticeship (IfA) website for the architectural assistant apprenticeship (here) and the architect apprenticeship (here).
Further information about the Institute for Apprenticeships and its policies in relation to degree apprenticeships can be found here. The Office for Students (OfS) has also published information in relation to degree apprenticeships which you can find here.
1. What is a degree apprenticeship? What degree apprenticeships are being developed for individuals wishing to train as architects?
Degree apprenticeships are a relatively new initiative, backed by the government, which should enable someone to achieve an undergraduate or postgraduate level qualification while working. They involve employers, higher education institutions (HEIs) and regulators/professional bodies working together to develop a common apprenticeship standard and end point assessment.
Degree apprenticeships are employer led and a group of employers, called a Trailblazer Group, began work in early 2017 to develop an architectural assistant (level 6) apprenticeship and an architect (level 7) apprenticeship. The ARB is supportive of this initiative and has advised the Trailblazer group on the Board’s requirements for registration and prescription of qualifications needed for entry to the UK register of architects from an early stage.
Once the standards, end point assessment plans and funding bands have been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships any HEI can develop and offer a degree apprenticeship, at either or both levels.
2. What is the relationship between the architectural assistant and architect apprenticeships and ARB’s requirements for registration?
ARB has been working with the Trailblazer Group to ensure that all the relevant requirements for registration as an architect in the UK will be covered within the architectural assistant and architect apprenticeships. There will be no differentiation between the requirements to register for graduates of a degree apprenticeship scheme as opposed to those who graduate from ‘traditional’ qualifications, i.e., an individual must hold prescribed qualifications at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 levels as well as satisfying ARB’s practical training requirements.
Two apprenticeships have been developed to cover the ARB requirements for registration:
- The architectural assistant apprenticeship which is intended to encompass a Part 1 level qualification; and
- The architect apprenticeship which is intended to encompass a Part 2 level qualification and a Part 3 level qualification.
The ARB Criteria for Prescription at Part 1 level are referred to within the architectural assistant apprenticeship standard and the ARB Criteria for Prescription at Part 2 and Part 3 levels are referred to within the architect apprenticeship standard. The standards make it clear that both the ARB Criteria and the requirements within the apprenticeship standard must be met. Institutions applying for prescription of the qualifications which sit within the apprenticeships must evidence that the ARB Criteria will be met at the appropriate level as is currently the case. Within the architect apprenticeship, the Board will expect to see two distinct and identifiable exit awards, i.e., a Part 2 qualification and a Part 3 qualification. For more on the ARB Criteria see here.
ARB’s practical training requirements will need to be incorporated into any apprenticeship provision that HEIs develop. For more see question 4.
3. What is the relationship between the architectural assistant and architect apprenticeships and ARB’s procedures/requirements for prescription?
There will be no differentiation between the procedures/requirements for the prescription of qualifications within a degree apprenticeship scheme as opposed to traditional qualifications. Institutions will need to demonstrate that their qualifications are mapped to the ARB Criteria at the relevant level in the usual way. As noted above there will need to be two distinct and identifiable exit awards within the architect apprenticeship.
When looking at an application for prescription of a qualification that sits within the architectural assistant apprenticeship the Prescription Committee/Board will need to be confident that the ARB Part 1 Criteria are appropriately delivered and assessed. Similarly, when looking at an application for prescription of qualifications that sit within the architect apprenticeship the Prescription Committee/Board will need to be confident that the ARB Part 2 and/or Part 3 Criteria are appropriately delivered and assessed. The architect apprenticeship must have an identifiable Part 2 qualification (prior to the Gateway point at which apprentices proceed to the end point assessment) where apprentices may choose to exit the apprenticeship with a Part 2 award.
Institutions should bear in mind that satisfying the relevant ARB Criteria and satisfying the relevant apprenticeship standard are two distinct processes. When reviewing an application for prescription of a qualification that sits within a degree apprenticeship, the Board will need to be confident that its own Criteria and requirements for prescription have been met. It will not seek assurance that the apprenticeship standard has been satisfied as this is not a requirement for prescription.
The current Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications will apply to the prescription of qualifications that sit within degree apprenticeships (see here) and institutions are encouraged to review these in detail before applying for prescription of any apprenticeship provision
4. How do the ARB practical training requirements align with the architectural assistant and architect apprenticeships?
There will be no differentiation between the practical training requirements for students/candidates on a degree apprenticeship scheme as opposed to those on traditional qualifications.
Providers offering the architect apprenticeship will need to ensure that it complies with ARB’s practical training rules (see here), e.g., all apprentices must have at least 24 months of recorded practical training experience, signed off by a Professional Studies Adviser (PSA), prior to taking the final Part 3 examination and at least 12 of the 24 months’ experience should have been undertaken in the two years immediately before taking the Part 3 examination.
Institutions may wish to note that if a qualification is officially designated as a part-time qualification and an apprentice works for at least 20 hours a week, an apprentice should be able to include some or all of this time in practice towards the practical training requirements (provided all other requirements are met). If a qualification is designated as full-time this is not possible but apprentices may be able to include time spent in practice during summer holidays subject to approval by a PSA.
For more information please see our Practical Training Guidelines FAQ here.
5. Can the academic provision/degree element of the architectural assistant and/or architect apprenticeships be prescribed as part-time qualifications?
As the models of provision are currently being developed we cannot provide a definitive answer to this query at the current time.
We are in the process of exploring how the Board might prescribe different modes of delivery in relation to degree apprenticeships, including part-time provision, and what the impacts of this might be. It is likely that part-time provision will lend itself to satisfying the requirements of a degree apprenticeship more easily than any other provision at this stage. The Board will however consider any application for prescription that an institution wishes to put forward, noting that all of ARB’s usual prescription and practical training experience requirements will still need to be met. Currently, it is Board policy that part-time provision should be at least one year longer than the full-time equivalent.
We are happy to provide guidance and advice throughout the development stage and on a case by case basis.
6. Can an institution use its existing prescribed qualification as a basis for the architectural assistant and/or architect degree apprenticeship? If so, would this be treated as a course change or a new qualification?
So far as ARB is concerned, yes. If the degree apprenticeship provision is to be added as a further mode of an existing ARB-prescribed qualification (full-time or part-time), and no material change in terms of the structure, the content, the learning outcomes or the assessments is being made to the existing qualification, then it is likely that we can consider this through our course changes processes and all modes, new and existing, can be prescribed concurrently.
Notwithstanding the above, each application for prescription of a degree apprenticeship would need to be reviewed by the ARB on a case by case basis; new qualifications and/or course changes would need to be considered through the relevant processes and carefully reviewed by the Prescription Committee and the Board as set out in the Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications. The decision as to whether the new provision, i.e., the degree apprenticeship, will be treated as a course change or as a new qualification will be made by the Committee and it will depend on the scale of change that occurs in terms of creating the new qualification. All changes/new qualifications will require consideration and approval by the Board via the usual Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications.
Course changes typically take 2 – 3 months to be considered and approved and new qualifications typically take 9 – 12 months to be processed, depending on the levels of information required by the Prescription Committee and the Board. We may be able to expedite matters more quickly depending on the circumstances.
We are happy to provide guidance and advice throughout the development stage and would strongly encourage institutions which are starting to develop their provision in relation to either or both of the standards to contact us early in the process.
7. Can an institution combine its Part 2 and Part 3 prescribed qualifications to align with the architect degree apprenticeship?
As noted above, there will need to be an identifiable exit award at Part 2 level as well as a separate Part 3 level award within the architect apprenticeship. As noted in the end point assessment document for the architect apprenticeship, an apprentice must have been awarded a Part 2 level award before progressing through the Gateway and accessing the end point assessment, i.e., Part 3 qualification.
The Board would expect that the duration of qualifications comply with its current policy, i.e., part-time qualifications should be as least one academic year longer than the full-time equivalent.
8. Can students/apprentices who already hold a Part 2 qualification gain admission to a Part 3 qualification that is offered as part of the architect apprenticeship?
Entry requirements for prescribed qualifications are set at the discretion of each institution. The Board will treat the Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications that sit within the architect apprenticeship framework as distinct entities. With this in mind, there should be no reason under the Board’s current prescription requirements as to why students/apprentices who already hold a prescribed Part 2 qualification cannot gain admission to the Part 3 element of the architect apprenticeship.
Institutions are asked to remember that this refers to the Board’s rules only and does not take into account any rules outlined by the Institute for Apprenticeships (such as apprenticeship entry requirements, satisfying the Gateway requirements, minimum duration of the apprenticeship etc.). Institutions which are considering admitting students/apprentices to the Part 3 element of the architect apprenticeship are therefore advised to check any additional bodies’ requirements which may need to be adhered to.
Institutions are reminded that they will also need to additionally ensure that ARB’s practical training requirements are adhered to.
It should be borne in mind that it is a standard condition of prescription that institutions must ensure that all students undertaking a prescribed qualification are fully informed of the requirements for registration as an architect, particularly where a student/apprentice lacks a required antecedent qualification e.g. a student/apprentice entering a Part 3 level qualification without a Part 1 level qualification.
9. Can institutions who do not offer a Part 3 qualification partner with another institution to deliver the academic learning and assessments needed for the Part 3 elements of the architect apprenticeship?
As far as ARB is concerned, yes. The architect apprenticeship must consist of two distinct and identifiable exit awards, one at Part 2 level and one at Part 3 level. ARB will prescribe these awards separately, as per current procedures, so it is therefore possible for different institutions to award each qualification. The Board will need to be clear about which institution is responsible for the formal academic teaching for each award, the institution that is awarding each qualification and will expect an application for prescription and/or notification of a course change from each institution in relation to its respective qualification.
As per question 8, please bear in mind the Gateway requirements as defined within the EPA, i.e., a Part 2 level degree must be completed and awarded and the formal academic learning as defined by their HEI for the Part 3 qualification must be completed before an apprentice can enrol on the Part 3 qualification/EPA. Some discussion may be needed between the respective institutions as to when and where this academic learning will take place. Institutions must also additionally ensure that ARB’s practical training requirements are adhered to.
While the Board does not have any rules against institutions partnering up to offer the architect apprenticeship, it is strongly recommended that any institution interested in doing so should contact ARB to discuss.
10. What title(s) can apprentices use in practice?
‘Architect’ and ‘architects’ are legally protected titles in the UK, as outlined in the Architects Act 1997, and therefore cannot be used by anyone who is not registered with ARB.
In general, any title that may mislead the public should be avoided. Apprentices should take care to ensure that they do not refer to themselves as a ‘trainee architect’, an ‘apprentice architect’, a ‘level 7 architect’, etc., but can use titles commonly used by architecture students such as architectural assistant or architectural apprentice. Institutions should also ensure that references to role titles including ‘architect’ or ‘architects’ are not cited in their apprenticeship documentation.
11. Will the degree apprenticeships comply with the requirements of the EU Professional Qualifications Directive?
It is current Board policy that all qualifications prescribed by the ARB at Part 1 and Part 2 levels should comply with the requirements of Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2006/36/EC) and that all ARB-prescribed Part 2 level qualifications should be notified for listing under Annex V of the Directive*. These policies will also apply to degree apprenticeships prescribed at Part 1 and Part 2 level and degree apprenticeships at these levels will need to comply with Article 46 (or Article 47) of the Directive.
The ARB is not aware of any regulatory barriers at this time but we will discuss the position more fully with the European Commission as we learn more about the models of provision that are being developed and will update these FAQs accordingly in due course.
* On the understanding that it will be underpinned by a Part 1 level qualification.
12. What ARB’s Criteria Review for Life Safety & Climate Change impact degree apprenticeships?
Our current Criteria applies for time the time being.
These Criteria are referenced within the Architectural Assistant and Architect apprenticeship standards and end point assessment documents. Institutions developing an academic provision should map it to the current Criteria for prescription purposes.
In January 2020 we launched a review of our Criteria in relation to Life Safety and Climate Change. This review is expected to conclude by Autumn 2020. Any amendments to the Criteria or supporting guidance will be consulted upon before the final outcomes are communicated to all institutions offering prescribed qualifications.
Our Board have also agreed to commence a wider review of the regulatory model that we operate, which will include a review of the competencies needed to enter and remain on the Architects Register. To begin this review, in 2020 we are undertaking research which will inform and underpin the wider review. Further details about this work will be made available on our website in due course.