What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a route into numerous professions which provides individuals the opportunity to combine working in a relevant field to gain practical competence with studying for a formal academic qualification. There are four different levels of apprenticeships in England:

Intermediate – roughly equivalent to five GCSE passes (equivalent to a Level 2 qualification);
Advanced – equivalent to two A-level passes (equivalent to a Level 3 qualification):
Higher – equivalent to the first stages of higher education such as a HNC, HND, or Foundation degree (equivalent to a Level 4/5 qualification);
Degree – available at Honours and Masters degree level (Level 6 and 7 qualifications).

Due to the vocational nature of the built environment and the Architectural Technology profession, apprenticeships are a valuable way of gaining relevant work experience as well as the necessary underpinning knowledge to become a valued, competent professional.

Who creates and develops apprenticeship standards?

Apprenticeship standards are created by a consortium of 8-10 employers where an occupational need has been identified. The consortium will identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an apprentice should develop for that occupation; these are outlined in the apprenticeship standard

Other stakeholders such as educational establishments as well as professional bodies can be consulted during the development of a standard; it is however the employer consortium's decision as to what is included.

Each consortium will be allocated a Relationship Manager by the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IfATE).

What apprenticeships are available in the built environment and are there any related to Architectural Technology?

There are over 80 apprenticeships within the built environment ranging from levels 2 to 7 which can be searched for on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website.

CIAT currently supports three apprenticeship standards which relate to Architectural Technology; these are:

How are apprenticeships funded and who can access levy funds?

Apprenticeships are funded by the apprenticeship levy, which was introduced in April 2017. Employers with annual paybills in excess of £3 million pay into the levy at a rate of 0.5% of their paybill. The levy is contributed into by less than 2% of UK employers.

Employers that do not pay the apprenticeship levy are able to share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the government. This is called 'co-investment'. For apprenticeships starting on or after 1 April 2019, employers pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum.

Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them are able to train those aged 16-18, or those aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have a Local Authority Education, Health and Care plan at no cost. The government will pay 100% of the training costs for these indviduals up to the funding band maximum. After 24 months, funds that have not been used will expire. Information on how to access levy funding is available here.

CIAT cannot offer any funding for apprenticeships; as it is for the government and employer to fund these.

Why does each apprenticeship standard have a different funding value?

Each apprenticeship is allocated to one of 30 funding bands, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000.

Funding bands are allocated based on quotes provided by educational establishments and the end-point assessment organisations during the development of the apprenticeship standard. The costs should represent the typical price of providing the apprentice with sufficient and high-quality training.

Training costs that exceed the funding band amount must be paid for by the employer.

Do I need to employ a new apprentice or can I upskill existing staff?

If you would like to employ an apprentice, their job role should relate to a specific apprenticeship standard.

Apprentices will benefit from the same rights as other employees, including:

  • Being entitled to the National Minimum Wage
  • Holiday pay and employee rights
  • Time for training or study as part of the apprenticeship
  • Having an employment contract or apprenticeship agreement in place

The salary you pay your apprentice will depend on their age and what year of the apprenticeship they are in.

  • Aged 16 to 18
    The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour.
  • Aged 19 or over and in their first year
    The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice £4.15 per hour
  • Aged 19 or over and have completed the first year
    The apprentice is entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate for their age.

Alternatively, it is also possible to upskill existing staff provided that they do not already hold an equivalent academic qualification in the same discipline.

CIAT currently supports three apprenticeship standards which are:

Once you have identified which standard would be appropriate for your apprentice, it is recommended that you contact the training providers (listed on the right-hand side of each standard linked above, under Find apprenticeship training providers that deliver this standard) to find out what their mode(s) of delivery include and whether your apprentice has the necessary prior learning/qualifications/experience.

In order to apply for and access public funding from the apprenticeship levy, your apprentice must be enrolled on an approved apprenticeship standard which has a registered training provider/end point assessment organisation, as outlined above.

Once your apprentice is enrolled, CIAT would be delighted to keep in contact with you both to offer support and advice on membership. The apprentice can join as a student member of CIAT and this class of membership is free for the duration of their apprenticeship. Once the apprenticeship has been completed, we would encourage the apprentice to progress from being a student member to the next appropriate class of membership and eventually become a Chartered Architectural Technologist.

Further information for employers on how to take on an apprentice can be found here.

I want to do an apprenticeship, what do I need to do?

In order to find an apprenticeship position, you can search for these either through the government website, or through the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education. You will also need to be interviewed by the company that you do your apprenticeship with, as an apprenticeship is a paid position. The National Careers Service can offer you advice on how to complete your applications and prepare for interviews.

Please visit the government website for further information on how to become an apprentice.

Can I do an apprenticeship at college or university?

Apprenticeships are the best of both worlds as you are able to 'earn while you learn'. All apprenticeship standards have a study programme attached to them; meaning that on top of the skills you will learn on the job, you will also gain a qualification at the end.

Educational establishments will need to be listed on the Register of Approved Training Providers in order to be able to deliver the qualification as part of the apprenticeship.

What is the apprenticeship process?

An apprenticeship will involve 20% off-the-job learning (i.e. your time at college or university including lectures, studios, coursework and exams) along with projects at your place of work over the course of 18-48 months. The duration is specified on the occupational standard of your specific apprenticeship, but your employer/training provider may have agreed on a different timescale for you to complete your apprenticeship.

Depending on the type of apprenticeship you are on (integrated or non-integrated) your end-point assessment may be conducted by the college or university, or by an external end-point assessment provider. Before undertaking the end-point assessment for your apprenticeship, you will have had to pass the qualification attached to it. 

You and your employer will agree how soon after completing the qualification you will need to undertake the end-point assessment in order to complete the apprenticeship.

Can I join CIAT with an apprenticeship?

Yes, apprentices are welcome to join CIAT as student members, which is free for the duration of your apprenticeship. Once you complete your apprenticeship, you are eligible to upgrade your membership to Associate or another class of membership, depending on your employment status. From there, you will be able to progress to become a Chartered Architectural Technologist, MCIAT through the Professional Assessment process.

If the qualification linked to your apprenticeship is CIAT-Accredited, you will be exempt from completing the educational standards section of the Professional Assessment process.

You would then need to compile a portfolio of evidence which should contain aspects from your apprenticeship and any other relevant work experience – if appropriate – and sit the professional interview.

How can educational establishments become involved in apprenticeships?

If your institution already offers a CIAT Accredited undergraduate degree, you are encouraged to internally validate the content of it to suit the degree apprenticeship model. The most appropriate standard at this time is the Design and Construction Management standard. Your institution would then need to go through the process of being listed on the Register of Approved Training Providers.

It would also be useful to canvas local employers to understand their needs so that provision can be tailored accordingly. 

Once your degree apprenticeship has a cohort of apprentices, you are advised to seek Accreditation of this programme; refer to Section 5 of the Accreditation Guidelines. Please contact the Education Department on education@ciat.org.uk for more information.

What is the End Point Assessment (EPA)?

At the end of an apprenticeship, individuals will need to demonstrate that they have met the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the occupational standard through several different types of assessments. The EPA is carried out after the individual has gained the relevant qualification as listed in the standard.

What is an integrated apprenticeship?

These are standards where an academic qualification, as well as the end-point assessment will be conducted by the educational establishment (i.e. they will not only deliver the knowledge but also administer the end-point assessment). The educational establishment delivering the degree must be on the Register of Approved Training Providers (RoATP) and the Register of Approved End-Point Assessment Organisations (RoAEPAO).

What is a non-integrated apprenticeship?

A non-integrated apprenticeship standard is one where the educational establishment provides the academic qualification only. The end-point assessment is then carried out by an independent provider that must be listed on the Register of Approved End-Point Assessment Organisations.

Currently, the apprenticeships that CIAT supports are all non-integrated. These are:

What does an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) do?

In the case of a non-integrated apprenticeship, the EPA must be conducted by a separate and independent organisation. EPAOs are then required to devise appropriate assessments as outlined in the apprenticeship's assessment plan. Only providers listed on the Register of Approved End-Point Assessment Organisations will have demonstrated that they have met the requirements set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and will have gained the necessary recognition by bodies such as Ofqual.

EPAOs should work with the educational establishment to ensure that they both understand the requirements as set out in the apprenticeship standard. Some EPAOs may also engage with the relevant professional body, whose members may be invited to assist with the creation of the assessments or to serve as assessors. Unless explicitly stated in the apprenticeship standard, involvement from a professional body does not imply that the apprentice will obtain a class of membership upon completion.

Why is CIAT not an End-Point Organisation?

At this time, CIAT has taken the decision to work with external end-point assessment organisations. Reasons for this decision are as follows:

  • Several changes would have to be made to the Institute's current qualifying process in order to fulfil the requirements set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
  • The work required to become an approved end-point assessment organisation and to gain Ofqual recognition is very resource intensive. A considerable investment would be required in order to develop the infrastructure needed to develop and administer the end-point assessment.
  • The above investment would take away from other vital services the Institute provides to its members, working within its set annual budget.

Our members have been recommended to assist with the development of assessments or to be assessors. CIAT will advertise the opportunities to become an assessor through AT Weekly or send direct emails to its members regularly.

If your question has not been answered please contact the Education Department by emailing education@ciat.org.uk.