Career in Construction: Apprenticeship

Ryan Bemrose discusses why he chose to undertake the RIBA apprenticeship scheme and the benefits it provides.

As the academic year is slowly drawing to a close, there will be students considering their next steps on their journey to a career in construction. There are many options available, from the typical university route to RIBA’s new route to professional qualification.

When applying for my year out placement, one of the things that attracted me to Ryder was the commitment to improving and reinventing the way things are done in the construction industry. Continuous improvement is something I am passionate about and has always been a part of my life, both personally and professionally.

During my placement year with Ryder, I gained significant practical experience and worked alongside supportive colleagues who helped me develop. Contemplating going back to university for two years to complete my MArch, to be followed by another two or three years for Part 3, was quite overwhelming. It is completely understandable why some people never return. I felt leaving Ryder to study for my part two qualification was not the right option for me personally – I needed a solution to continue the progression of my career.

Ryan’s degree apprenticeship project


Whilst reviewing my options for the continuation of my studies, it became evident that there was a lack of choice in the journey to becoming an architect.  I was then introduced to the Architecture Apprenticeships Trailblazer Group – Ryder participated in the Level 7 architect degree apprenticeship course, offering an innovative approach to career development in architecture.  This new route to full qualification as an architect allows those with an undergraduate degree in architecture to dedicate twenty percent of their working week to study and eighty percent to continuing their position in practice.  Northumbria University were one of the first to offer the course and, after discussions with the programme leader and the support of Ryder, I made the decision to take up the opportunity.

The architect degree apprenticeship is a part time course with an increased effort to combine the experience from university studies with practical experience, truly defining the collaborative approach to supporting the development of people, an example for Ryder’s vision of Everything architecture.  The course also includes the relevant RIBA and ARB accreditation for Part 3 qualifications, providing a packaged approach to full qualification.  The course is funded by both employers through the Apprenticeship Levy and Government, meaning traditional tuition fees usually accumulated are eradicated.

This course is a huge step forward – it provides an alternative to a career path which is otherwise rigid and also continues to reinforce the inclusivity of architecture, as well as encourage aptitude and tenacity.  I have been given the opportunity of continuing my career without having to return to university full time, building on the development of my practical experience – allowing me to advance my education in a manner that is appropriate to my skills without the financial strain.  Additionally, there is an improved flexibility with the course.  During deadlines for university commitments, I can exchange an extra day of university study for a day during the summer if the work load is less intense.  This is a great attribute of the flexible working approach adopted by Ryder and an indication of the fluid approach of the new course.

Ryan’s degree apprenticeship project


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ryder, with a special mention to everyone in Ronnie Graham’s team and the members of the bursary judging panel, for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.  I am grateful that Ryder were one of the first companies to invest in the pioneering apprenticeship scheme, meaning that I can be a part of the first cohort for this new route to qualification.  This aligns with Ryder’s commitment to the reinvention of the construction industry and promotes greater collaboration between academia and practice, an approach which is needed to support the future of the construction industry.

If anybody would like any further information and an honest insight into the degree apprenticeship, please feel free to contact me.  I look forward to continuing my studies and helping to shape the course for future generations.

This is the first in a series of Career in Construction blogs, written by Ryder students at different points of their studies.  For more information on a career at Ryder, visit our join us page.