As the lead professional body representing those studying and practising within the field of Architectural Technology, CIAT prides itself on its inclusivity and as such, seeks to endorse and promote different routes to a rewarding career within the discipline or to attaining professional membership through the Institute.

This may be through full or part-time study followed by relevant employment, on-the-job training or via the Government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme or other approved routes/standards.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a route into numerous professions which provides individuals the opportunity to combine working in a relevant field with studying for a formal qualification. There are four different levels of apprenticeships in England:

  • Intermediate — roughly equivalent to five GCSE passes (equivalent to a Level 2 qualification);
  • Advanced — equivalent to two A-level passes (equivalent to a Level 3 qualification);
  • Higher — equivalent to the first stages of higher education such as a HNC or Foundation degree (equivalent to a Level 4 qualification);
  • Degree — available at Honours and Masters degree level (Level 6 and 7). 

Due to the vocational nature of the built environment and the Architectural Technology profession, apprenticeships are a valuable way of gaining relevant work experience as well as the necessary underpinning knowledge to become a valued, competent professional.

What is the Trailblazer apprentice scheme?

This following section relates to the scheme currently offered across England and predominantly focuses on Higher and Degree apprenticeships, although more can be developed at a later date depending on industry need.
To be classed as a Trailblazer scheme, a minimum of 10 employers must come together to create apprenticeship standards for a specific occupation or job role within that industry. 

The Trailblazer scheme differs to previous ones in that it is not restricted by age. Therefore a company may decide to upskill its existing workforce or hire new apprentices to address the skills gap, grow talent and in turn the business. There are also financial incentives for companies that choose to invest in apprentices. See more in the Funding section below.
For apprentices enrolled on this scheme, they will work alongside experienced staff, gaining job-specific skills that employers need all while earning a wage, an education and time allocated to study. It is intended that at the end of these apprenticeships, individuals will also hold widely respected professional qualifications with a relevant professional body in through a streamlined process because the experience required for membership has been embedded in the learning.
To date, CIAT has formally supported the Digital Engineering Technician apprenticeship standard led by Laing O’Rourke which is a Level 3 Higher apprenticeship. This recognition means that upon passing the End Point Assessment (EPA), apprentices will be eligible to undertake the Professional and Occupational Performance (POP) Record to obtain professionally qualified Architectural Technician, TCIAT status. 

A current list of approved traning providers can be found here

Role of professional bodies in apprenticeships

CIAT welcomes and supports the development of apprenticeships which would allow anyone - irrespective of age - interested in progressing within the profession of Architectural Technology to gain the relevant knowledge and experience required in industry, and which would allow candidates to gain TCIAT or MCIAT status with the Institute.

Professional bodies can offer support for apprenticeships by offering feedback on apprenticeship standards where appropriate, and by providing subsequent professional qualifications. We are not able to develop apprenticeships ourselves - this is the role of employers and academic institutions.

Due to the launch of the new framework for apprenticeships in England, educational providers are subject to thorough checks and additional procedures, such as lengthy application forms, in order to be deemed a legitimate apprenticeship training provider. This may be why so few providers are aware of all the standards and associated qualifications which support these.

We are currently looking into ways to better promote apprenticeship routes and opportunities to our members and academic partners.


There are a few ways in which employers can access funding to support apprentices within their organisation. These include:

Due to the Government’s promise of 3 million apprentices by 2020, a Levy was introduced on 6 April 2017. All employers in the UK with an annual bill of above £3million will have to contribute to meet this target. For more information about the Levy please click here.

It is important to note that the way this money is allocated between the four Nations differs.

Co-funding investment
Employers that do not pay into the Levy, but whose apprentices are aged 19 and over will share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the Government by contributing 10% of the cost, with the Government paying the remaining 90%.
16-18 year old apprentices
Employers that do not pay into the Levy, but offer apprenticeships to 16-18 year olds receive 100% of the cost of training from the Government. If the company has less than 50 employees, they will receive a £1000 incentive towards apprenticeships.

Please click the following links for information about apprenticeship in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.