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ARB launches Tomorrow’s Architects

Posted: 9th February 2023

The Architects Registration Board is today launching a major public consultation on its plans for a new regulatory framework for educating and training architects. ARB’s comprehensive reforms would see the regulatory framework change from the current approach (Parts 1, 2 and 3) to require only two accredited qualifications. The reforms aim to support flexibility and widen access to the profession, whilst also enabling learning providers to innovate and maintain their global reputation for quality. This three-month consultation is a significant opportunity for architects, educators and students to review ARB’s proposals in detail and share their views.

ARB is the professional regulator responsible for setting the standards for registration as an architect. A fundamental part of this role is to set clear requirements for the outcomes of initial education and training, which in turn assure the public that all those on the Register of Architects are competent to practise.

Following two years of detailed policy development, including focus groups, surveys and events, ARB is now consulting on its new approach to the way architects are trained and educated. These innovative proposals aim to improve diversity and access to the profession, focusing on outcomes – what architects can do – rather than the learning process itself. ARB’s proposed framework focuses on flexibility; it is intended to be compatible with apprenticeships and other new routes that could emerge in the future, and will also break down barriers to multi-professional education and training. As well as redefining access to the profession for would-be architects, ARB’s work also includes providing ‘clearer and stronger’ standards for learning providers.

ARB’s proposals include:

  • New educational structure: The structure of architectural education and training will change from the current approach (Parts 1, 2 and 3) to require only two accredited qualifications. This flexible structure will open up new entry points and enable a range of pathways for future architects. It will be based on both Academic Outcomes (equivalent to Level 7) and Practice Outcomes (gained through professional practical experience).
  • Modernised competencies: Qualifications will be focused on competency outcomes: based on what architects can do, not what they are taught. The competencies take a modern approach, based on research into how the profession and the world around it are changing.
  • Standards: Clearer and stronger standards will be in place for universities and all learning providers delivering ARB-accredited qualifications.
  • Quality assurance: ARB will introduce an evidence-based quality assurance of qualifications, overseen by a new Accreditation Committee.

ARB is encouraging anyone with an interest to complete the online consultation survey, which closes on Wednesday 10 May 2023. Once it has closed, ARB will analyse the responses and, based on the points raised, consider changes to the scheme. The Board will announce next steps by the autumn. Whilst the transition timelines are subject to consultation, it is ARB’s intention that anyone setting out to become an architect from September 2027 onwards will have to be trained and educated through the new, improved framework and assessed using the new learning outcomes.