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Job Photographs

  • A woman, wearing a high visibility vest, is inspecting some brick work on a construction site.

    You'll need an eye for detail to be an architect.

  • A man and a woman are looking at some brickwork on a construction site.  They are both wearing high visibility vests and hard hats.

    Inspecting work on site.

  • Two men and a woman are in front of a computer screen.  The men are standing and the woman is seated. One man is gesturing towards the screen.

    Discussing a new job with colleagues.

  • A woman is talking on the phone.

    Communication is key in this type of work.

  • A man is using some surveying equipment on a building site.

    There could be times on site when you'll need to use different types of equipment.

  • A woman is handing a piece of paper to a man, in an office.

    This career is a mixture of office and site-based work.

  • Two men are standing on a roof.  They are both wearing high visibility vests and hard hats.

    Health and safety is very important while you're on site.

  • A man's hand is pointing at a specific part of a computer screen.  The screen is showing some plans.

    You'll need the confidence to get your opinions across to do well in this career.

  • Architect

Architect

Introduction

Architecture is an amazing thing - it has the power to change people's lives. As an Architect you will design buildings and assist with the construction process, using innovative techniques to change and redefine our buildings and civil spaces.

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Video: - Kester: Architect

Video: - Sarah: Design Manager

Work Activities

As an Architect you will be involved in the whole construction process from the planning and design of buildings through to their completion. You may work on a wide variety of projects, ranging from making changes to existing buildings to creating whole new housing estates.

The construction process begins with a brief, which the customer and you decide together. The brief indicates the type of building required, what it will be used for and the amount it is expected to cost.

Before the design stage begins, you might look into the needs and opinions of those people who will work in, live in or use the building.

Most buildings are the result of a team effort and once you become an experienced Architect you might act as project leader, discussing ideas with a group of professionals, bringing their work together, both on time and within budget.

Once ideas have been agreed and finalised, you will produce sketches and plans of the exterior and interior, which show the size that the building needs to be and the materials that are to be used.

After the client accepts your design for a building, you will produce more detailed technical drawings for use by the building contractor. In some cases, Architectural Technicians may do this. At this stage, you may be involved in talks with Town Planners and Building Control Officers regarding planning permission and aspects of health and safety.

As building work progresses, you'll visit the site regularly to check that the work is progressing according to the original drawings and plans.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become an Architect, you'll need:

  • an interest in design and some artistic ability
  • creativity and the imagination to produce something that is visually pleasing and suited to its environment
  • the ability to think through and solve problems
  • strong presentation skills, as you will have to present your ideas to a wide variety of people
  • to be a well-organised person with good planning skills
  • knowledge of business technology
  • IT skills, especially experience of using CAD software
  • a keen eye for detail
  • good people skills

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £31,500 - £35,000
  • With experience: £36,000 - £41,000
  • Senior Architects earn £46,000 - £51,000

Hours of work

You will work 39 hours a week with occasional weekend and evening work according to the demands of the project.

Where could I work?

Employers include:

  • private practices
  • local government architectural or planning departments
  • central government departments
  • construction companies
  • research practices
  • manufacturing companies
  • the health service
  • education

Opportunities for Architects occur in practices in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Opportunities also occur for Architects to work on projects in other countries, for example, in Canada, Ireland and in the Middle East.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for Architects to also work as independent consultants, for example, in education and in research.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

It takes a minimum of seven years to train to become an Architect and there are three key stages to the training:

  • five year degree programme - you'll need to complete a five-year degree programme in architecture, on a course that is recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
  • a minimum of two years' work experience in an Architect's practice
  • professional architectural examination - Examiners will assess how you did in your work experience. Typically, you'll be assessed on a case study of a project you've worked on with a written exam, and then finally, an oral exam.

You might be able to get onto a Degree Apprenticeship which could provide you with an opportunity to complete all three stages.

Once you've completed all of the training stages, you'll need to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The title 'Architect' is protected under the Architects Act 1997 and anyone who wishes to use the title in business or practice must be registered with the ARB.

It is also possible to become an Architect by studying part-time on day-release. To begin these courses, you will usually need to have a number of years' work experience in an Architect's office.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You will need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card

Work Experience

Experience of using BIM tools such as AutoCAD or Revit whilst working in a design environment, will help you to stand out from the crowd. Project management skills are also highly valued in this career.

Progression

With experience, it is possible to become an Associate, and then a Partner in an Architect's firm. Some set up their own practices.

To become self-employed as a freelancer or join a partnership, you will usually need to have several years' professional experience.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree course in architecture, you'll need:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualification (a subject such as 3D design or building services engineering would be very useful)
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university websites for more details.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels, but again, entry requirements will vary.

The entry requirements for professionally-recognised courses will vary from school to school. For example, some schools ask for a maths and science pass at A level. Contact individual schools of architecture for full entry details. The Architects Registration Board website has an up-to-date list of all courses recognised for registration purposes.

A portfolio of sketches or drawings is required as evidence that you have the potential to learn the technical drawing required for architecture.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Candidates need to be aware that it usually takes seven years to become professionally qualified.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

A number of schools offer part-time Royal Institute of British Architects-validated courses, so students can train in architecture while earning a salary.

If you have gained a minimum of three years' experience in an architectural practice and have suitable qualifications, you can study for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Examination for Office-based Candidates. This is studied by distance learning and consists of two parts. Part 1 normally takes four years to complete, and part 2 two years.

This can be followed with the RIBA exam in Professional Practice and Management, available via distance learning at Oxford Brookes University, leading to registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and/or chartered membership of the RIBA.

A portfolio of art work is required for entry to courses.

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries and other awards are available from RIBA.

Further Information

LGjobs

Local government vacancies

Website: www.lgjobs.com

myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries

Email: myjobscotland@cosla.gov.uk

Website: www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Address: Englemere, Kings Ride, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7TB

Tel: 01344 630700

Email: reception@ciob.org.uk

Website: www.ciob.org.uk

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Address: 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

Tel: 020 7580 5533

Email: info@riba.org

Website: www.architecture.com

Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture

Address: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES

Tel: 020 7887 4000

Website: www.aaschool.ac.uk

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Address: 8 Weymouth Street, London W1W 5BU

Tel: 020 7580 5861

Email: info@arb.org.uk

Website: www.arb.org.uk

National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171

Email: rayrobertson@nhtgskills.org

Website: www.nhtg.org.uk

Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA)

Irish enquiries

Address: 2 Mount Charles, Belfast BT7 1NZ

Tel: 028 9032 3760

Email: info@rsua.org.uk

Website: www.rsua.org.uk

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Queen's University Belfast

Irish enquiries

Website: www.qub.ac.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

Scottish enquiries

Address: 15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH1 2BE

Tel: 0131 2297545

Email: info@rias.org.uk

Website: www.rias.org.uk

Architecture and Design Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: Bakehouse Close, 146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD

Tel: 0131 5566699

Website: www.ads.org.uk

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

UK Schools of Architecture with courses validated by RIBA

Publisher: Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Website: www.architecture.com/Files/RIBAProfessionalServices/Education/Validation/2010/ukSchoolsList.pdf

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

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