Matthew's role makes him a Trustee of the Institution, a member of its Executive Board and a member of its Council (strategic forum and electoral college). The Vice-President Education is one of the Honorary Officers that share responsibility for the development and implementation of the Institute’s strategic and corporate plans. Matthew works with the Education and Membership Departments on a wide range of issues that include: development and maintenance of educational and professional standards, qualification development, accreditation and approval of academic programmes, and membership recruitment, retention and progression. This requires Matthew to represent the Institute at external events with Government bodies, fellow professional institutions, and academic establishments, amongst others.
Matthew’s manifesto as Vice-President Education focuses on three key aspects: the promotion of Architectural Technology as a professional career; the development of routes through education that widen appeal; and the strengthening of support for those in practice in their continued learning. An opportunity exists to create a sustained growth of the Architectural Technology discipline to meet the ever-increasing demands that society places on the built environment. This requires the output of graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills at a rate that fulfils the growing recruitment needs of practice. Consequently, it is crucial to find ways to attract people to study and pursue a career in Architectural Technology.
There is a drive for alternative routes into the professions and higher apprenticeships are seen by Government as a sustainable method. There is an Architectural Technology based degree apprenticeship standard that has been approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. However, the decision to release funding remains dependent upon agreement of the end point assessment and this is currently pending. Increasing the diversity in educational pathways to access a professional career may be the key to success in expanding the intake to Architectural Technology. These must collectively capture the breadth of possible candidates. For example, a proportion of graduates return to study in order to develop a second career. Leeds Beckett University is well placed in this respect because it runs MSc Architectural Technology and Design by distance learning that is aimed at non-cognates, and this is proving to be a successful offering. It is believed that the mode of study, and in particular the ability to provide flexibility in the rate of study are important factors. It is these types of initiatives that are required across the higher education sector if the supply of Architectural Technology graduates is to increase in line with demand.
It is important to engage practitioners in the promotion of the discipline because this will open up networks and provide a source of inspiration by example. Furthermore, there needs to be greater integration of practice in the delivery of Architectural Technology education to strengthen this symbiotic relationship and ensure the currency of graduates. The provision at Leeds Beckett University integrates industry professionals into modules where possible to add credibility and expose learners to perspectives from current practice. The success of our approach is reflected in the excellent rates of related employment enjoyed by our graduates.
There are opportunities for universities that expand beyond the delivery of courses to access a career. After completing their initial education, practitioners need to keep up to date with the legal, technical and management issues in a constantly changing environment. Universities could lead the creation and provision of Continued Professional Development (CPD) content. The nature of the construction industry means that the widespread dissemination of knowledge would be best undertaken via digital means. These technologies and the pedagogies that underpin learning using these methods are familiar to higher education.
In summary, the advancement of the Architectural Technology discipline provides opportunities for universities that can be grasped to the mutual benefit of both higher education providers and the construction industry.
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