The role of employers in the initial registration process

The New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) urges the owners and managers of architectural practices to provide their graduate employees with practical assistance and encouragement to become Registered Architects. By doing so, practices are investing in their staff individually and the profession’s future.

Registration distinguishes architects from other designers. The NZRAB is keen to ensure that registration is relevant and is the logical end-goal for graduates in architecture. Currently around 65 new people a year are achieving the title Registered Architect. This remains well short of the 190 or so graduates leaving our three schools each year.

Practices that employ graduates play a vital role in assisting them achieve registration.

Helping a staff member become registered is good for business. Some of the most enthusiastic and engaged staff members are those seeking registration. They are keen to enquire and to learn from their Registered Architect colleagues.

The NZRAB’s graduate surveys show that often applicants have difficulty obtaining appropriate practical experience suitable for registration. The NZRAB asks that employers consider this when allocating projects and tasks within their teams. Gaining the range and depth of experience required for registration is critical.

Preparing work experience evidence is not easy for registration applicants. Also, requirements for registration have changed significantly over recent years, and employers need to be conversant with this. The NZRAB suggests employers should discuss this with their graduates and review the information available on the NZRAB website.

As much as possible, employers should engage with their staff and encourage them as they prepare for registration.

Many employers get quite involved, guiding and advising where possible. Most employers permit the free use of copying and printing equipment, and access to the office after hours, so that staff can prepare their case studies. Some employers pay or part-pay registration application fees, and some reimburse successful staff. Some employers permit paid study leave to prepare for the assessment interview.

Practices must make their own decisions regarding how they can assist. The NZRAB encourages employers to consider carefully how they can help their graduates towards registration. After all, every architect was a registration applicant once.

To discuss this further, employers are welcome to ring the NZRAB’s registration convenors – they are Wellington Convenor Callum McKenzie (04 384 8192); Auckland Convenor Tony Orgias (09 481 0630), and Christchurch Convenor Alec McDonald (03 366 3524).