One in ten students still not being paid according to RIBA survey
Practices which take on unpaid students will be stripped of their accreditation, the RIBA has warned, after a survey revealed one in ten students are working for free.
The RIBA Student Earnings Survey revealed that 11% of students were not paid in their current or most recent work placement.
For those students yet to attain their part II qualification, the figure rises to 14%. Seventy-seven percent of architecture students are working alongside their studies.
RIBA president Angela Brady promised that offenders would be penalised. The RIBA said practices suspected of taking on unpaid interns could be reported in confidence.
“I am dismayed by the evidence that some architecture students are not being adequately paid, or in some cases paid at all, for the work they contribute to the profession,” said Brady.
“It is totally unacceptable. The RIBA will not allow any practice contravening the Chartered Practice to retain its accreditation.”
The RIBA’s chartered practice criteria states: “Your practice must commit to paying at least the statutory minimum wage to architecture students working within the practice.”
Alex Maxwell, Architecture Students Network representative, said the RIBA needed to take strong action to ensure offending practices are identified and described the survey’s findings as “no surprise”.
“The RIBA have taken steps to prevent this, which the Architecture Students Network welcome, but more needs to be done,” he said.
“We’d like to see the RIBA follow up on their proposal to strip practices of their accreditation, and a public naming-and-shaming would go some way to bring the remaining minority of charted practices into line with requirements.
“When you don’t pay someone, you basically tell the employee that their time and effort are worthless. That’s a huge smack in the face for someone’s who invested at least five years at university - and a large sum of money - into their architectural training.”
Greg Penoyre, director at Penoyre and Prasad, backed the RIBA’s proposal. “The habit that’s developed of internships for recent graduates not being paid is certainly wrong,” he said.
“It’s opportunistic on the part of employers. To blight a young graduate’s immediate career by not paying them is pretty tough. The RIBA is absolutely right to get behind students and make sure employers are fulfilling their duties.”