As one of the Trailblazer practices that led the development of the Modern Apprenticeships Standard for Architecture, we’re proud to have supported Daniel Stokes in his journey to becoming a fully qualified Architect. As part of our series of blogs to mark National Apprenticeship Week, we’ve caught up with Dan to ask him a few questions about his apprenticeship journey and why he believes this route into our profession is one that more people should consider.

Daniel Stokes Dezeen HLM Architects

Training to be an architect is a long and expensive process. You need about £45-48K full time to qualify. The apprenticeship scheme allows individuals to learn architecture over a part-time-study period, allowing students to work at the same time.

The qualifications now available through the RIBA scheme are Level 6 architectural assistant including Part I qualification and Level 7 architect, which includes Part II and Part III.

As part of our series of blogs to mark National Apprenticeship Week, we’ve caught up with Dan to ask him a few questions about his apprenticeship journey and why he believes this route into our profession is one that more people should consider.

1. How long have you been with HLM? Have you always been based in the London Studio?

I’ve been with HLM nearly 5 years now all of them based in the London Studio

2. What role did you come into HLM to do?

I started at HLM as an Architectural Technologist so focused on the later stages of projects for more technical design and project delivery

3. When and why did you choose Architecture as your chosen profession? Were there other career paths that you considered?

I’ve always wanted to work in architecture and working in the profession was something that I chose whilst still at college. The appeal of creating buildings that can benefit the user and wider the community was definitely major appeal as well as an appreciation for the positive impact good design can have. Being bale to draw and visually create was also something I have was attracted too.

4. Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship instead of the traditional route into the profession? Did you already know about the apprenticeship route or did someone at HLM tell you about it?

Previous, to undertaking the architectural apprenticeship, I trained and practiced as an architectural technologist. However, it has always been an ambition of mine to become an architect as I felt I had a lot to offer. The financial restrictions of studying architecture at degree level as a more experienced student with a previous degree made this prohibitive. The apprenticeship however is paid for through a central government apprentice funding pot, meaning apprentices pay nothing and employers cover a very small percentage of the typical university course fees. With full time employment a prerequisite to studying the apprenticeship, I could continue earning whilst studying for an RIBA Part 1 course for free whilst gaining extremely valuable professional experience at the same time. I found out about the apprenticeship through Karen who was leading the formation of the apprenticeship for HLM within the Trailblazer group after mentioning to Richard O’Neil that I would like to look into qualifying as an architect.

5. Which University did you study the course at?

London South Bank University.

6. When and why did you choose to study architecture? Were there other career paths you considered?

My previous professional experience is architecturally focused both as an architectural technologist and in environmental sustainability management but I always felt I had something to offer from a design perspective which was my main driver for studying architecture. Being able to influence the strategic approach at early project stages I feel is the best way to influence the environmental credentials of a design, so becoming an architect enables more control and embed strong environmental performance, something I am passionate about.

7. Describe a typical day at HLM, tasks you are given and how your role has developed

Day to day tasks are really varied which is fantastic. I have the opportunity to work across all RIBA stages so got to experience brief development and concept design where I would help with the site analysis, concept diagrams, BIM model management and engaging with the client and material research. My technologist background meant that I was comfortable with the later RIBA stage tasks such as detail development and engaging with suppliers.

8. What HLM projects have you been part of and are particularly proud of?

The great thing about HLM is the quality of the project is always so high so I’m proud of every project I’ve been involved in. In particular, the delivery of Greenmead and Ronald Ross SEN schools was a great experience and made such a difference for the end users and working on the Stage 2 design for the London Institute of Healthcare Engineering was fantastic with a great client and a really interesting brief in an amazing location

9. Has anyone at HLM helped shape and influence your personal development?

As a technologist working with John Kiernan has been such a valuable experience – that guy knows how to build! And I learnt a huge amount working with Luke Riggall, Russell Whitby, and Simon Chenery so I have to mention them too.

10. What advice would you give anyone wanting to become an architect and considering an Apprenticeship as a route into the profession?

I’d say consider the apprenticeship route. It’s hard work but you learn so much in practice and end your studies with a lot of professional experience compared to full-time study which is so important for your career. The financial benefits are significant, there is no student debt and the chance to earn whilst studying.

11. Why do you think practices should take on more apprentices?

Learning and working at the same time over multiple years is really useful to build professional expertise at the same time as being exposed to the latest approaches in academia, so I think the industry will benefit from a young but really experienced cohort of architects which improves the output potential for those practices

If you’re considering an Apprenticeship in Architecture and want to find out more, please visit Architecture Apprenticeships.

“This apprenticeship scheme is a major step forward for the architecture profession. It opens up architecture to more people, diversifying the profession and enriching our contribution to the built environment.”

Daniel Stokes

“The new apprenticeship scheme is a brilliant initiative that opens up architecture to everyone, at a time when the construction sector is experiencing a decline in student numbers. Importantly, it also links practice and academia, so apprentices can learn the technical and design process at university while enhancing wider softer skills within a practice, such as communication, team working and business acumen. This benefits the apprentice, our business and ultimately the communities and users of the architecture we deliver.”

Karen Mosley, Managing Director

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