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The first cohort of 16 aspiring architects enrolled in the University of Cambridge’s pioneering postgraduate architecture apprenticeship programme have just been awarded a Master of Studies (MSt) in Architecture – with two students receiving industry accolades for their achievements.

The high-flying trainees passed the first stage of the apprenticeship with flying colours and are now continuing towards their End Point Assessment – paving the way towards Part III of their training early next year before they go on to qualify as architects.

The apprentices’ talents have not gone unnoticed, with two of the outstanding cohort receiving prestigious construction sector awards:

  • Alesia Bloor has been honoured as the first North Yorkshire Construction Apprentice of the Year
  • While Andy Elliot has been awarded the Suffolk Joint Construction Committee Construction Professional Apprentice of the Year Award for 2023.

About the architecture apprenticeship programme

The University of Cambridge launched the innovative new postgraduate apprenticeship programme in September 2020 – offering an alternative route to qualifying as an architect that is designed to prepare students like Alesia and Andy for the rapidly changing world of professional practice in the 21st century. Apprentices can fit their studies around existing professional commitments and gain invaluable work experience as they learn.

As part of the Government’s Apprenticeship scheme, the Master of Studies (MSt) in Architecture draws on University of Cambridge expertise and experience to help students complete their professional qualifications through part-time flexible study, led by renowned professionals from the world of architecture.

The course is taught by Cambridge’s Department of Architecture and is administered by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, which is the registered apprenticeship provider for the University of Cambridge. The architecture apprenticeship is part of a growing stable of postgraduate apprenticeships offered by the University of Cambridge.

All costs for this course are covered by the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and employers, who provide a top up fee, meaning that students do not need to pay any costs. Students also earn a salary while they undertake the apprenticeship, which opens up an ‘earn while you learn’ route for graduates to complete their training and a chance for architecture practices to nurture young talent.

The lectures are taught by experts from inside the University and from the profession, and studio work is run as a series of master classes by leading practitioners in their fields. High-calibre course tutors include several national award-winning architects, including:

  • Proctor & Matthews – winners of the 2023 Architecture Today Residential Award
  • Mole Architects – RIBA East Award winners
  • As well as course academic adviser Nikolai Delvendahl and module tutor Eric Martin, who won a RIBA London Award for 16 Broadway Market.
  • Leading infrastructure architect Harbinder Birdi will also be joining the teaching team later this year.

The course is led by Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, who has been teaching in architecture schools since 1993, including at the University of Kent, the Architectural Association and New York University in London.

Dr. Brittain-Catlin said:

  • “The costs of traditional architectural education are becoming increasingly difficult for graduates to cover and risk excluding large tranches of society from the profession. We see the apprenticeship model as an important way of redressing this urgent challenge.”

Apprentice Andy Elliott, who has been based at Modece Architects in Suffolk during his apprenticeship, said:

  • “I am absolutely thrilled to receive the esteemed Suffolk Joint Construction Committee Construction Professional Apprentice of the Year 2023 Award. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Matt Bell and Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin for their invaluable support throughout my apprenticeship at Modece Architects and Cambridge University. Their combined investment in my career and unwavering support have played a pivotal role in propelling my ongoing development. I am truly grateful for their guidance and encouragement.”

Fellow apprentice Alesia Bloor, who works at north-east based P+HS Architects, said:

  • “I’ve always believed that practical experience, as opposed to traditional education settings, can provide a higher grasp of a profession and a more complete skill set. As architectural apprenticeships emerged in the industry, I eagerly embraced the opportunity to become a leading pioneer of this change. It’s difficult to overstate the opportunities my apprenticeship has presented me over the past few years. I was genuinely overwhelmed to be shortlisted for both the degree apprenticeship and North Yorkshire Construction Apprentice of the Year Award.”

Andy, Alesia and their fellow apprentices, who are matriculated at Queens’ College, will receive their Master of Studies from the University of Cambridge in the autumn.

The University of Cambridge Apprenticeship is a purpose-designed course, which aims to provide both Part II and Part III of the Royal Institute of British Architects/Architects Registration Board (RIBA/ARB). Part II mixes master classes, lectures, supervisions, seminars and studio work over three two-week sessions every year for three years, followed by 6-12 months to complete the End Point Assessment and Part III of the training.

Applicants for the apprenticeship will normally be expected to have achieved a UK 2.1 honours degree or overseas equivalent. They must already have achieved RIBA/ARB Part I, either through an apprenticeship or through a recognised degree course.

Expressions of interest are invited from architecture practices based in England for the course starting in September 2024.

For further details...

Please visit the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education website at

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