14 - 09 - 2023

Architectural Apprentices at BPTW, Ben Lyons and Briza Carrascoza.

BPTW is delighted to support two more architectural apprentices on their journey to qualification this year. Architectural Assistants Briza Carrascoza and Ben Lyons will commence their Level 7 Architectural Apprenticeships with BPTW in partnership with two universities this month. They will become the 4th and 5th Architectural Level 7 apprentices supported by the practice since 2018, one of which included the first architectural apprentices to qualify in the UK.

Taking approximately four years, the Level 7 Architectural Apprenticeship amalgamates the traditional RIBA Parts 2 and 3 into a single course that blends professional practice with study. Briza and Ben will work at BPTW and study at The University of Cambridge and The University of Nottingham respectively, with time divided between formal study at their selected university and live projects at BPTW.

Apprenticeships are fast becoming a popular route to qualification among aspiring architects. When questioned, many students feel that the traditional qualification route creates a disconnect between study and the profession that can leave the newly qualified unprepared for real-world practice. Furthermore, apprenticeships bring financial benefits because no training costs are passed onto the apprentice, combating the costly university fees and high student debt often experienced by students. Often architectural practices sponsor the apprentice through the Apprenticeship Levy or by Government-Employer co-investment.

Many students recognise the opportunity for innovative design teaching offered by the university environment alongside the social advantages of being among a cohort of peers. Uniquely, the apprenticeship model enables a transfer of innovation between the university and practice through the apprentice, which could further benefit the profession.

Architectural Assistant Briza Carrascoza, who will be an apprentice with Cambridge University, said of the opportunity,

As I consider the next steps in my academic and professional journey, I am confident that this architecture apprenticeship is ideal for me as it perfectly aligns with my current ambitions. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the university’s community of learners and to work alongside BPTW’s professionals. This incredible opportunity would not have been possible without the unwavering support and belief of my employer, BPTW. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the practice for their commitment to nurturing my academic and professional journey.”

The University of Nottingham apprentice and Architectural Assistant, Ben Lyons, elaborated on his choice of the apprenticeship route, explaining,

“During my time in practice as a Part I Assistant, it became clear there was a disconnect between how the role is portrayed in the final years of the undergraduate course and the reality of working life and how I learn best. The apprenticeship allows you to actively maintain and develop your creativity and design skills while remaining fully immersed in the ever-changing landscape of the built environment. I am pleased to have the support of BPTW as I take this next step in my journey towards qualifying as an architect.” 

The uptake of these innovative training methods at BPTW comes at a time of change for architectural education which, led by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), is undergoing reform. Following a consultation process, the ARB’s new regulatory framework for education focuses on what an individual must know, be able to do and behave rather than how and what they are taught. Critically, this allows people with different undergraduate degrees to embark on becoming an architect, which is impossible in the current system. Autumn 2023 will see the ARB publish new outcomes and standards for learning providers, leading to a new set of qualifications in 2025 monitored by the new Accreditation Committee.

BPTW advocates for an inclusive architectural education system that enables people from all walks of life to qualify and contribute to a better, sustainable urban environment. BPTW’s insights article titled ‘Is the journey to becoming an architect no longer sustainable?’ examines the ARB’s architectural reforms, and considers how and why the education system can evolve for the better. We believe apprenticeships are vital to this step change. You can read the article by BPTW Partner Alan Wright and Architect Tom Linzey on our website here.