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Thursday24 July 2014

RIBA and Arb team up to overhaul architectural education

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Profession and Schosa join forces

The RIBA and Arb have joined forces with British architecture schools and student bodies to overhaul the education system in line with a new EU directive due to be ratified next month.

The news comes as the RIBA estimates that the average time for an architect to become registered is nearing a decade.

Former RIBA president Jack Pringle said “drastic change” was needed. “The part III is highly valued internationally but it takes too long to get qualified. The average length is just under ten years, that’s crazy, it can’t take that long to go into one of the poorest-paid professions.”

The EU professional qualifications directive is expected to pass through EU parliament in October and will be implemented by 2016. It is intended to make the system of mutual recognition of title among European countries easier, as well as aligning the length it takes to become qualified.

David Gloster, head of education at the RIBA, said the time taken to qualify in the UK had increased in recent years.

“There are a number of reasons for this,” he told BD. “Students spend five years in academic study, they’re busier in practice so find it harder to take on a part III course and finding the right job that works as a case study for p III is also hard.

“With the fee hike and the fact that practice is vastly different from some 50 years ago when the education system was designed, we have to modernise it.”

A meeting between the RIBA, Arb, Schosa and student bodies is due to held later this month.

Alex Wright, head of Schosa, said: “The change in EU regulation is a useful catalyst. We want a system that’s flexible and fair. It doesn’t necessarily mean it would be shorter but there should be different pathways that students can take.”

Earlier this year Terry Farrell, who is heading a government review into the industry, said the length of architecture courses and the cost of education was a priority for his team.

What the EU directive could mean

Under the new directive architects could be given an electronic ‘passport’ that would be instantly recognised by another EU country, where the professional wishes to establish themselves. UK pI and pII architecture courses could be shorterned in line with other EU countries such as Germany and other member states would be alerted if an Arb reprimand was issued.

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Readers' comments (37)

  • Good to see non-EU trained professionals will remain frozen out.

    Beats me why anyone would want to come...or stay. I have family now, children in school so moving back to Oz is a non-starter (cannot afford it for one thing), but I'd advise any non-EU trained architects to stay the hell away from the UK, they really don't want you to practice here.

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  • They should both close down, sell the headquarters and distribute the proceeds to the long suffering poorly paid glorified draftsmen as they are both useless and a waste of scarce resources

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  • @ Chuckle - you're right; the Brits just don't do hospitality. You need to go to Ireland for that. But since you're here, you could enjoy yourself by staying on and on, just to annoy the hell out of the Brits.

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  • harriet harriss

    Another BD article that fails to ask any frontline educators or students their views. Balanced reporting on such a sensitive and significant issue is much needed BD - there's really no excuse for this kind of complacency.

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  • Reducing the education of architects at a time when their esteem in the construction industry us at an all time low will just encourage use of the untrained, unqualified and unscrupulous. The profession will wither and die. Precisely what this government wants so its money grubbing businessmen can maximise profits and build any old shonk.

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  • We need to look to training of students and question the costs and time required to train in this country at this point in time. Glad to see the professional bodies taking this on!

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  • Sceptical, I did actually go to Ireland, and started the process there...with my degree recognised, I was on my way to be a Part 3 Architect again.

    Unfortunately the collapse of the construction industry did for my job and case study, then when I went to continue my studies a year later (having moved back to the UK) I found that in the meantime the EU rules had changed: I'd have to qualify and then practice in a bankrupt country where nothing was happening, for 3 years, before I could avail of the Architects Directive and call myself an Architect in the UK.

    Needless to say I didn't bother.

    Ridiculous though that ARB on the one hand have so many exemptions, on the other hand basically want me to do my degree again (my course syllabus in Oz was set 25 years ago, hardly current for what ARB demands to see now)

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  • The issue is the number of architects not the length of the course. Follow the example of other professions and make the professional qualification extremely difficult to pass. This will improve the quality and standard of the profession though the simple mechanism of supply and demand.

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  • VERY encouraging -

    Jack Pringle said “drastic change” was needed. “The part III is highly valued internationally but it takes too long to get qualified. The average length is just under ten years, that’s crazy, it can’t take that long to go into one of the poorest-paid professions.”

    Doctors take less time to become qualified and when they do begin getting paid for their work they are paid proportionately to the amount of study they had to do!

    Architects on the other hand are paid less than an average degree graduate of an "ology" degree (psychology, geography,,, etc)

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  • Architectural education should focus on the history, culture, and philosophy of architecture. All the practical stuff can be learned in an office.

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