Times are hard. There are very few places in the world unaffected by the economic downturn. And nowhere has this impact been felt more harshly than the construction industry, which has left a generation of architecture graduates trapped in limbo, struggling to get a foothold in the industry.
In the United Kingdom the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the professional body representing architects and their interests. Their influence is everywhere, from the moment you enter the architectural education system, until the time you decide to hang up the drawing board. So if the RIBA are so interested in supporting the education and professional development of architects, surely they are the people to look to for support in these difficult times?
Put simply, not really. Whilst you can search for a job advertisement on the RIBA website, the state of the profession means there is not exactly a deluge of positions from which to take your pick. This is to be expected. The RIBA are not magicians, they cannot simply create jobs where there is not the money to sustain them.
What interests this observer more is how the RIBA are marketing the next generation of designers. Are they encouraging practices to look at the situation with a little perspective and appreciate the benefits of having fresh, keen, cheap labour? Are they considering relaxing the rules around gaining part III accreditation through work experience abroad? And what support is there from the professional body on possible alternative career options?
What else is there that can be done to help architecture graduates at this time? And how can we get this message out? Perhaps better use of social media by the RIBA could help with this? If we don’t want to lose a generation of talented but unlucky architects to the scrap heap, isn’t now the time to give them all the support we can?