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

A current list of approved training 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 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.

Levy payers receive their funds through the apprenticeship service to spend on training and assessing their apprentices. The Government adds 10% to these funds. 

Funds that have not been used in 24 months will expire.

It is important to note that the way this money is allocated between the four Nations differs. Please click the following links for information about apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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 5% of the cost directly to the training provider, with the Government paying the remaining 95%.

Apprenticeships that began before 1 April 2019 will continue to be funded at the previous rate of 10% contribution from the employer and 90% from the Government.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees do not have to pay the 5% training contribution for apprentices that are aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old that have previously been in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their Local Authority.

In these instances, the Government will pay 100% of the maximum funding band for the apprenticeship standard.

All employers receive £1,000, if at the start of the apprenticeship the individual is: 

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old that have previously been in care of who have an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their Local Authority.


Scotland offers different types of apprenticeships. These include:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships

These are qualifications valued by employers and recognised by all Scottish colleges and universities. They take two years to complete as a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) can be chosen as a subject in Stage 5 or 6 and is at the same level as a higher. FAs are currently available in 12 subjects, including civil engineering, software development and financial services. They are linked to growth sectors of the Scottish economy, allowing learners to gain industry experience and skills by spending one day a week with a company to enhance their CV.

  • Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships (MA) help employers develop their workforce by training new staff and uplifting existing employees. An MA is a way for apprenticeships to earn a wage and gain an industry-recognised qualification. 

Individuals can develop skills and expertise for their current and future jobs. Modern Apprenticeships are available at four different levels, some equivalent to a degree.

There are over 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks – from healthcare and financial services to construction and IT. These have been developed by sector skills councils, in consultation with their industry.

  • Graduate Apprenticeships

A Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) builds skills and knowledge that Scottish industries need. These have been designed for and by industry. Those interested in the built environment are able to pursue a Level 10 Scottish Qualification Credits Framework (SCQF) Construction and Built Enivronment Framework.

Apprentices will be employed, earn a wage and achieve a degree at either Honours or Masters level.

Most of the apprentice's time will be spent learning on the job. However, they will be enrolled on a higher education programme.

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for a GA. However, due to the nature of certain vacancies (and health and safety requirements), the age limit to apply may be 18 and over. Individuals changing their careers are also eligible for a GA.

Those already in employment can complete a GA as an existing employee if the job role relates to the apprenticeship framework. This option can be discussed with the employer.