The Australian Institute of Architects has urged the federal government to expand grants for employers of interns and apprentices to those who employ architectural graduates, in a bid to support those who have seen their employment opportunities shrink dramatically at the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victorian Chapter President Bill Krotiris describes the decision to extend these grants to architectural firms as “a no-brainer” for the Morrison government, if it decides to go down that route.
âA national survey of our members early last year found that almost a third of respondents (27.27%) had been forced to lay off or lay off staff,â he says.
âThe Institute has taken an evidence-based approach to proposing policy solutions to this growing problem in our profession which will have negative repercussions on the building and construction industry at large, as well as on communities. communities we serve.
âOur modeling of a grant equivalent to that currently offered to apprentices and trainees to employ the 1,300 graduates of the Master of Architecture from 2020 would generate a return on investment by the end of the first year of 132%, excluding savings to avoid recourse to unemployment benefits. .
“It’s a ‘no brainer’, and we’re only looking for it for two years to bring 2020 graduates who have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 directly to work alongside architects in practice.”
The plight of architectural graduates was recently brought to light by recent graduate Kushagra Jhurani, who recently stood in the center of Melbourne CBD with a sign looking for a job, highlighting the dire situation currently facing architects in the making.
âOur institute took a comprehensive proposal to subsidize graduate employment in the federal government, engaging directly with the Department of Education and Employment, promoting it in our 2021 federal pre-budget submission and sending to the federal ministers concerned. â Krotiris said.
âIt is heartbreaking to see the image of this young person, while at the same time thinking of all these graduates whose potential contribution to a future sustainable, safe and quality built environment across our country in the cities, suburbs and regions could be lost.
“We call on the federal and state and territory governments to urgently address this crisis.”
Krotiris’ hometown of Victoria has been significantly affected by the pandemic, with 43% of all master’s of architecture graduates coming from Victorian universities. The AIA believes that the future of the profession will be in good hands due to the large number of graduates from the Southern State, but is concerned for the immediate future of these architects.
Krotiris is quick to point out the rigorous journey of learning and practical experience established under the National Framework of the Architect Accreditation Council of Australia, which requires five years of full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree followed by a minimum of 3,300 hours of supervised employment logbook requirements and / or oral and written examinations administered by a State Architects Registration Board.
âIt’s typically a seven to eight year journey, often longer considering the project opportunities offered by small and large-scale architectural firms. Our graduates often take up to five years of supervised employment before they can take board exams and finally get enrolled, âhe says.
The AIA supports architects early in their careers through their PALS (Architectural Practice Learning Series) program, which supports the professional development of graduates wishing to take the Council of States and Territories exams. While these measures are of great help to architects with minimal experience, those who employ these architects in particular do not receive the same subsidies as those with trades and other certifications, making it increasingly difficult to hire. of those graduates without financial assistance, especially with the pandemic. still causing economic tensions.