Croft Architecture's First Architecture Apprentice starts at university

Croft Architecture’s First Architectural Apprentice

We’re delighted to bring news that our Architectural Assistant, Coral, has decided to embark on the next stage of her architectural career by progressing with her studies through an Architecture Apprenticeship at Sheffield Hallam University.

Coral became part of our dynamic team in September 2019 and since joining she’s had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects from inception through to construction. We’re extremely pleased to have seen her confidence, knowledge and skills grow over the last 12-months and we feel that an architectural apprenticeship will offer her a completely different learning experience from the traditional route through to architectural qualification.

Architectural Apprenticeship Benefits 

The style of the course means that Coral can work and study at the same time providing her with more experience on a variety of projects, in many sectors of work, at great depth. At the end of the course she will have gained her architectural postgraduate qualifications including RIBA Parts 2 and 3.

It’s a great way of learning and qualifying for Coral, but also great for the team too. We’re always ready to learn, change and improve the way we do things to help our clients, grow as individuals and as a company. It’s part of ethos to help our team to develop and train and what better way than sharing new and innovative ideas between us all in the workplace and the university, and vice versa.

Another advantage is that Coral gets the opportunity to learn away from the normal workplace with her new peers from different architectural practices. This alone will encourage a wide range of architectural, fresh, and inspirational thinking which she can bring back to share and stimulate new ideas within the team.

We chatted Coral a little more about the course and what’s involved. Find out more…

Over to you Coral.

How did you find out about apprenticeships?

Many of my friends whom I studied undergraduate with went on to further studies via the apprenticeship route. I knew I wanted to keep working alongside studying and the apprenticeship offered the perfect balance and opportunity between both.

Why did you decide to continue your studies with an architectural apprenticeship rather than the more traditional route of beginning a Part II qualification full time?

It just made a lot more sense for me to go down the apprenticeship route. You can’t replace the experience of working in an architectural practice and getting involved in real projects and interacting with clients. If I returned to full time studying to complete my Part II qualification I’d feel as though I’d be missing out on ‘real life’ interactions and experiences. The apprenticeship offers the perfect balance of learning and experience, whilst still retaining an income too!

Which university have your chosen and why?

Sheffield Hallam University is becoming the leading work-based learning university. I completed my architecture degree at the university and I also have a large support network in Sheffield and familiarity to the area.

How do you apply? Through UCAS? Or direct with the university?

I emailed the University directly and as I completed my degree course there, I already had a rapport with the course leaders and lecturers. This made the process easy.

What the criteria for entry to the course?

You'll need a minimum of a Part 1 qualification, or Part 1 equivalent, which is 2:2 or higher in an architecture or equivalent, alongside a relevant occupation (architecture).

I think that you also need GCSE (or equivalent) maths and English at Grade C, 4 or above.

How long will the qualification take?

It is a 4-year course part time. In the first 3 years I'll study for the MArch (the RIBA Part 2 qualification) and in year 4 I'll study for the Advanced Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture, (the RIBA Part 3 qualification). 

What qualification will you have at the end of the course?

Once completed, I'l be able to apply to become a registered architect with a Master's in Architecture (MArch) and Advanced Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture, (RIBA an ARB Part 2 and Part3).

What costs are involved?

The government funds 95% of the course and Croft Architecture supplying the final 5%.

How many days a week at university are involved?

It is a one day a week course and remaining days are spent working in practice.

What has the communication from the university been like?

They are fabulous! Super friendly and helpful.

How are the lessons being delivered in response to Covid-19?

It will be a mix of online and face to face – all within the government guidelines.

When do you start?

My first week is the 2nd October!

Do you know what modules will be covered?

From the info I’ve received prior to starting I know that we’ll obviously be looking into building design, but in a varying context, such as urbanism, sustainable design and using creative approaches to construction and technology.

The design and written modules include extensive input from our local, national and international network of architects, artists, designers, local authority actors and community groups. The course also explores the changing nature of the architectural practice.

We should have been receiving regular guest lectures from leading architects, but this may not happen in person now due to the pandemic, but I’m hopeful that this can be delivered virtually.

I know that we’ll need to apply our learning on live projects from the project we’re working on in the office. Additional modules will cover and developing briefs, report writing, and community led design. I look forward to telling you more after my first day.

I think that the field trips to London and Europe will be temporarily on hold but hopefully not for too long.

What are most looking forward to about the course?

I’m looking forward to drawing freehand and producing creative conceptual drawing pieces to demonstrate a concept. I’m a massive fan of watercolours mixed with fine liners.

How do you feel that the course will help with your immediate role in the office and vice versa?

As part of the course I gain an architectural mentor to shadow whilst at work. We’re already a very collaborative office and being open plan means we can easily talk about projects between us and bounce ideas off each other. I already receive support and guidance from the whole team, but the course presents a great opportunity to learn directly from one of the architects at Croft Architecture as my designated mentor. I know that the experience of the team and my mentor will provide me invaluable support to help me over the next 4 years.

I’ve been shadowing the architects from day one at Croft Architecture, sitting in on meetings, learning how to interact with contractors and consultants, but now I’ll be able to come back to the office and to hopefully apply my university learning directly to my role at work. I feel that the course will benefit the team and practice as whole. The more I learn, the more I will be able to take up further roles and get more involved in technical design and the further stages of work, helping to drive the business forward.

I think that the mix of academic studies and working in practice offers a good blended approach to learning. I hope that it will help me to progress much quicker professionally as opposed to the traditional full-time academic route. The course at Sheffield Hallam will teach me the theory of architecture and Croft Architecture will be supporting me with the ‘real life’ on the job learning, in practice. I hope to successfully bring the two together gaining the skills as a good professional architect.

The next steps

We look forward to Coral coming back to the office with news on her course, hearing her fresh ideas and thereafter discussing how we can perhaps use them on projects or within the team. The apprenticeship is completely new to Coral and to us all at Croft Architecture. It’s going to be great for the whole team and the way we work.

We anticipate that both the course and working in practice will help her to gain the skills as a professional so that she can grow into a really good architect over the next four-years.

We’re pleased to support her on her next steps to becoming a fully qualified architect. At the end of the 4 years she won’t just be a fully qualified architect, Coral will be an architect with 4 years industry experience too!

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