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The Apprenticeship Route to Qualifying as an Architect | HiBarn Apprentices

What we cover in this article

HiBarn Apprentices | The Architecture Apprenticeship Experts

An Article by Katy Claridge

Hello Aspiring Architects! I am Katy, the founder of HiBarn Apprentices, an online community educating aspiring architects and practices on the benefits of the apprenticeship route to qualifying as an Architect in the UK.

Why HiBarn Apprentices started?

As a passionate alumni of Newcastle School of Architecture, graduating in 2020 I feel that the apprenticeship route to qualification is an often missed opportunity within the industry.

In my final weeks of studying for my Part One I asked in a careers talk about the apprenticeship route and the panel had never heard of this route before. Graduating during the pandemic came with many hurdles but working as a Part One Assistant was a year of invaluable experience. I believe this work experience made me realise that the traditional route of returning to study full-time was not for me, nor was the additional £50k + of student debt. So I investigated the Apprenticeship. 

Now, 2 years into the apprenticeship with The University of Nottingham I can highly recommend it as a great route to becoming an architect and I want to share this adventure with more aspiring architects. 

What is the Architectural Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine work and study. There are 2 Architectural Apprenticeships in the UK at the moment; 

Level 6 – Part 1 – the degree apprenticeship, designed for school leavers.

Level 7 – Part 2 – the masters apprenticeship, designed for graduates.

This route to qualification is designed for the student who wishes to pursue a career alongside studying.

How does the apprenticeship work?

A minimum of 20% of your contracted hours must be spent studying, known as off the job training. Typically this means you either work 4 days a week and study 1 day or you go to university in block releases, such as 1 weeks per month.

The governments apprenticeship scheme means all large companies pay a small tax (apprenticeship levy) into a fund to finance apprentices. Therefore, this route doesn’t cost the apprentice anything and your employer will pay a maximum of 5% of your tuition fees.

Why is the apprenticeship so good?

Employers prefer this route as they get to retain staff which builds a community. Along with growing talent whilst adapting the apprentices training to suit the business. ‘86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation’ RIBA Education Statistics 2021/2022 Report.

I prefer this route (as a student) because I gain invaluable hands-on experience with real life projects while being surrounded by architects every day, unlike the academic focussed alternative. Additionally, I am avoiding extra student debt all while earning a salary, enjoying a professional lifestyle and company perks.

Where can I find out more?

As I feel this is a missed opportunity, I am growing a knowledge base to share best practice around the architectural apprenticeship for both students and practices, therefore, to find out more please follow;

If you’re an aspiring apprentice looking for a practice or a practice looking for an apprentice, please get in touch!

What is ArchAdemia?

A place for creatives to elevate skills, industry knowledge, confidence, well-being & career success! Our platform is perfect for design students, qualified architects, interior designers and archviz artists of all skill levels.

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