As the lead professional body representing those studying and practising within the field of Architectural Technology, CIAT prides itself on its inclusivity and as such, seeks to endorse and promote different routes to a rewarding career within Architectural Technology or to attaining professional membership through the Institute.

This may be through full- or part-time study followed by relevant employment, on-the-job training or via the Government's Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme or other approved routes/standards.


What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a route into numerous professions which provides individuals the opportunity to combine working in a relevant field with studying for a formal 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.

Apprenticeship FAQs: England only

A range of frequently asked questions on apprenticeships in England. If your question has not been answered, please contact the Education Department by emailing [email protected].

Click here

What is the Trailblazer apprentice scheme?

This following section relates to the scheme currently offered across England and predominantly focuses on Higher and Degree apprenticeships, although more can be developed later depending on the industry need.

To be classed as a Trailblazer scheme, a minimum of 10 employers must come together to create apprenticeship standards for a specific occupation or job role within that industry.

The Trailblazer scheme differs to previous ones in that it is not restricted by age. Therefore, a company may decide to upskill its existing workforce or hire new apprentices to address the skills gap; growing talent and in turn, the business. There are also financial incentives for companies that choose to invest in apprentices. See more in the Funding section below.

For apprentices enrolled on this scheme, they will work alongside experienced staff, gaining job-specific skills that employers need all while earning a wage, gaining an education and having time allocated to study.

Once an apprenticeship is completed, individuals should be able to use their knowledge and experience to gain respected professional qualifications with a relevant professional body through its usual qualifying process. 

Role of Professional Bodies in apprenticeships

CIAT welcomes and supports the development of apprenticeships, which would allow anyone – irrespective of age – interested in progressing within the profession of Architectural Technology to gain the relevant knowledge and experience required in industry. These apprentices may later choose to become Chartered Architectural Technologists, MCIAT.

Professional bodies can offer support for apprenticeships by offering feedback on apprenticeship standards where appropriate, and by providing subsequent professional qualifications. We are not able to develop apprenticeships ourselves – this is the role of employers and academic institutions.

Due to the launch of the new framework for apprenticeships in England, educational providers are subject to thorough checks and additional procedures, such as lengthy application forms, in order to be deemed a legitimate apprenticeship training provider. This may be why so few providers are aware of all the standards and associated qualifications which support these.

We are currently looking into ways to better promote apprenticeship routes and opportunities to our members, affiliates and academic partners.

Apprenticeships related to Architectural Technology

CIAT supports the following apprenticeship standards which would allow apprentices to prepare for a career in Architectural Technology:

  • Digital Engineering Technician apprenticeship standard which is a Level 3 Higher apprenticeship. A current list of educational establishments (i.e. approved training providers) offering delivering the qualification linked to this standard can be found here.
  • Construction Design and Build Technician which is a Level 4 Higher apprenticeship. This link will indicate which educational establishments are offering the qualification linked to this apprenticeship.
  • Design and Construction Management is the only Degree apprenticeship (equivalent to an Honours degree) currently supported by the Institute. The following educational establishments offer the qualification(s) named in this standard.

Please check these links regularly as more educational establishments may become approved to offer the relevant qualification at any time, giving you, or your apprentice more choice of providers across England.

End Point Assessment Organisations and External Quality Assurance

An important aspect of apprenticeships is the End Point Assessment (EPA) which is a rigorous and independent assessment that determines whether the apprentice has successfully completed the standard by testing that they are able to perform the occupation they have been trained to do – as outlined in the occupational standard.

An assessment plan is outlined in every apprenticeship standard which must then be developed by an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). Only EPAOs listed on the Register of Approved End Point Assessment Organisations (RoAEPAO) are able to administer the EPA, as they will have had to demonstrate their capability to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). An apprenticeship standard may have several EPAOs, and it will be down to the employer to decide which EPAO to go with.

Currently the NOCN is the only EPAO listed for the Level 3 Digital Engineering Technician standard, whereas Qualifications for Industry (QFI) is the EPAO for the Level 4 Construction Design and Build Technician and Level 6 Design and Construction Management standards.

All EPAOs will be subject to monitoring, known as External Quality Assurance (EQA). The role of EQA is to determine that the EPA process for each EPAO is fair and consistent, providing apprentices and employers the assurance that occupational competence is being assessed in a suitable manner. 

Similarly to EPAOs, EQA providers will have had to go through an assessment process prior to being listed, and must be recognised by the Office for Students (OfS) or Ofqual.

Information for apprentices

If you are looking to become an apprentice, we would advise that you contact the educational establishments listed under each apprenticeship standard as they may be in a position to introduce you to a local employer.

Alternatively, vacancies for any of the above standards may be found through one of the following resources:

Information for educational establishments

Educational establishments wishing to offer the named qualification as part of an apprenticeship standard are encouraged to create or amend existing curricula to meet the requirements outlined in the apprenticeship standard and go through a validation process with the educational establishment.

The apprenticeship programme is encouraged to apply for CIAT Accreditation to indicate to apprentices and employers that the curriculum meets our educational requirements. To enquire about this please contact CIAT's Education Department on [email protected].

Information for employers

Once an apprenticeship standard has been approved for delivery, and has an End Point Assessment Organisation in place, employers are able to recruit an apprentice and use funding from the apprenticeship levy to train the apprentice. The sections below outline alternative funding mechanisms for England.

The following link provides further information as to what is required when taking on an apprentice.

Within England, there are a few ways in which employers can access funding to support apprentices within their organisation. These include:

Due to the Government’s promise of 3 million apprentices by 2020, a Levy was introduced on 6 April 2017. All employers in the UK with an annual staff payroll of above £3million will have to contribute to meet this target. For more information about the Levy please click here.

Levy payers receive their funds through the apprenticeship service to spend on training and assessing their apprentices. The Government adds 10% to these funds. 

Funds that have not been used in 24 months will expire.

It is important to note that the way this money is allocated between the four Nations differs. Please click the following links for information about apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Co-funding investment
Employers that do not pay into the Levy, but whose apprentices are aged 19 and over will share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the Government by contributing 5% of the cost directly to the training provider, with the Government paying the remaining 95%.

Apprenticeships that began before 1 April 2019 will continue to be funded at the previous rate of 10% contribution from the employer and 90% from the Government.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees do not have to pay the 5% training contribution for apprentices that are aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old that have previously been in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their Local Authority.

In these instances, the Government will pay 100% of the maximum funding band for the apprenticeship standard.

All employers receive £1,000, if at the start of the apprenticeship the individual is: 

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old that have previously been in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their Local Authority.


Scotland offers different types of apprenticeships. These include:

Foundation Apprenticeships
These are qualifications valued by employers and recognised by all Scottish colleges and universities. They take two years to complete as a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) can be chosen as a subject in Stage 5 or 6 and is at the same level as a higher. FAs are currently available in 12 subjects including civil engineering, software development and financial services. They are linked to growth sectors of the Scottish economy, allowing learners to gain industry experience and skills by spending one day a week with a company to enhance their CV.

Modern Apprenticeships
These help employers develop their workforce by training new staff and uplifting existing employees. A Modern Apprenticeship (MA) is a way for apprenticeships to earn a wage and gain an industry-recognised qualification. 

Individuals can develop skills and expertise for their current and future jobs. Modern Apprenticeships are available at four different levels, some equivalent to a degree.

There are over 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks – from healthcare and financial services to construction and IT. These have been developed by sector skills councils, in consultation with their industry.

Graduate Apprenticeships
These build skills and knowledge that Scottish industries need. These have been designed for and by industry. Those interested in the built environment are able to pursue a Level 10 Scottish Qualification Credits Framework (SCQF) Construction and Built Enivronment Framework.

Apprentices will be employed, earn a wage and achieve a degree at either Honours or Masters level.

Most of the apprentices' time will be spent learning on the job; however, they will be enrolled on a higher education programme.

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA). However, due to the nature of certain vacancies (and health and safety requirements), the age limit to apply may be 18 and over. Individuals changing their careers are also eligible for a GA.

Those already in employment can complete a GA as an existing employee if the job role relates to the apprenticeship framework. This option can be discussed with the employer.