Professional Architectural Apprenticeship: This month we interrupted the busy schedule of GUNN Associate’s Project Designer, Ted Thrower. Ted has been with GUNN for almost 3 years. During this time, he has undertaken a Professional Apprenticeship at the practice, but what does this entail?
What is a Professional Apprenticeship?
There are two different types of professional (or higher) apprenticeships, Level 6 and Level 7. A Level 6 apprenticeship is the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, whilst a Level 7 apprenticeship is equivalent to a master’s degree. If you want to become an architect, architecture apprenticeships provide a different way into a career in architecture. They combine practical experience in an architecture practice – GUNN! Coupled with academic training from a university, in Ted’s case London Southbank University. As an apprentice, he has to complete assessments during and at the end of the programme. Ted’s work is all based on real projects within the practice which he delivers in a four-day week, leaving the fifth for the course; the apprenticeship period lasts for 3-4 years.
“The professional apprenticeship is a fantastic way of getting practical, hands-on experience in a practice, whilst obtaining a professional qualification in a shorter amount of time for architecture – which is normally seven years. Mine is a new course and a new way of doing it. And I think it will change a lot in the future. I’m really excited to achieve this experience whilst in the workplace, and it means I’m working my hours in and then getting to log them at the same time for my degree, which is great!”
Effects of the pandemic
Fortunately, Ted has been able to able to achieve his course segments, whilst continuing to work at GUNN throughout the pandemic and various lockdowns. The university adapted quickly and the course delivery, albeit remote, was and continues to be delivered well despite not being on Campus for his designated Uni day. There’s obviously less interaction with his peers and groups, but lectures have remained largely unaffected, you just get used to looking at a screen!
Making an Apprenticeship work
Having a good practice to work for is key, it needs to be a flexible work environment that will adapt and accept that a professional qualification is being worked towards as well as delivering real projects for clients. Ted has had to be very strict with his time and been given a huge amount of independence to achieve each stage.
“Because it is an apprenticeship, there’s a lot of independence. So, if I need to jump onto something in the practice, I can do. GUNN are very accommodating and appreciate I do need extra time during deadline times to put a shift in and do my Uni work, so it’s good to have an environment and a support network that allows me to do that. It’s all about gaining relevant experience whilst achieving a degree qualification.”
The most recent focus for Ted’s Professional Architectural Apprenticeship is sustainability and energy efficiencies within building design, how you assess things like sunlight on a site, how you would address prevailing wind and how that works through accessibility. alongside green areas and the areas that are richer, more permeable, environmental factors. This all involves further analysis, reviewing how things have been done previously – the research stage! This side of the apprenticeship is invaluable, as many aspects need to be covered for projects, but will form a large part of the course modules.
Ted is now moving into his final year which is general architecture. This is where we will see the fruits of the hard work that’s been put in, and will see him design a project independently and then pitch and present as if in a live client environment – the big guns!
We will be keeping up with Ted’s progress with his Professional Architectural Apprenticeship and report back over the coming months. Good luck Ted!
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