An open letter to heads of schools

As you know, there is now an overwhelming number of students unable to find professional experience in the current recession and the inability to find employment in an architectural practice is likely to continue for some time.

Our student representative on the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) council has been working with me on the ACA/RIBA Recovery Task Force to develop innovative solutions. We are addressing opportunities for government-funded apprenticeships and are seeking more recognition for work abroad at Part I level.

Since it is neither a RIBA nor an ARB requirement for students to have any professional experience before starting their Part II course, I am asking you to reconsider your school’s eligibility criteria for your course, if necessary, by waiving the requirement for professional experience for the academic year 2009-2010.

I hope you will be able to address this as a matter of priority. In the meantime, the ACA would be happy to hear from any students or recent graduates with concerns about surviving the recession by contacting

You may have read of the taskforce’s wish to ask schools with planning courses to consider offering short induction courses into planning for skilled architects interested in working in local authority planning departments. If your school might be able to do this, Duncan Bowie at London Met ( has produced a model course.

Brian Waters, president, ACA