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UK architects must pay minimum wage for student placements

UK architects will be required to pay statutory minimum wage to students on placements as of 1 July, according to new RIBA rules:

RIBA President Ruth Reed takes action against unacceptable low pay for students

The President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Ruth Reed today announced an important change in the RIBA’s Chartered Practice criteria, which will commit every RIBA Chartered Practice to paying the statutory minimum wage to those students undertaking work that is eligible to count towards their PEDR requirement.

The decision was taken following recommendations from the RIBA’s Pay and Conditions working group, which was established by Ruth Reed in November 2010 to address significant concerns over pay and conditions for architecture students completing fee-earning work in practices, and unanimously endorsed by the RIBA’s Professional Services Board. The Institute currently publishes guidelines outlining recommended rates of pay for architecture students completing their PEDR experience, established in collaboration with architecture student body ARCHAOS, however this is the first time that RIBA Chartered Practices will be required to adhere to minimum rates of pay.

The change to criteria will be made with immediate effect, and will be applicable to all RIBA Chartered Practices from 1 July 2011.

In addition, a series of in-depth consultations will take place throughout 2011 with students of architecture, RIBA Chartered Practices and other key stakeholders to consider appropriate rates of pay for students and graduates that are higher than the statutory minimum wage, whilst taking into consideration factors such as regional variances.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:

‘Whilst all appreciate that trading conditions are extremely difficult for practices at the moment, the financial position of students is particularly severe and about to get considerably worse when fees treble next year. The requirement for adherence to the National Minimum Wage will assist students in completing their education and go some way to alleviate the effects of the education cuts on the flow of talent into the profession. The future of architecture depends on a succession of talented designers and we must do all we can to prevent them being deterred by the spiraling cost of education. Further investigation into pay levels will be undertaken which will help to provide a level playing field for job costs and fee bids for chartered practices.’

RIBA Council Student member Alex Scott-Whitby said:

‘This move is fantastic news for students and has been a long time coming; it is great to see the RIBA taking the first step towards better remuneration for both students of architecture and qualified architects. The practices adhering to the RIBA’s kitemark scheme recognise the important contribution that students make, and are supporting the profession in a vitally important way at this time.’


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