The Government has approved in principle the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) proposal to develop a Degree Apprenticeship for Chartered Town Planners in England.
 
It is the first step in creating an apprenticeship that will combine academic education with vocational training to equip future employees with vital skills as well as a degree.
 
School leavers will be able to earn a wage from an employer while being sponsored to complete a full bachelor’s or master’s degree without paying fees. Existing graduates or employees with no planning qualifications may be eligible.
 
The length of the apprenticeship has yet to be confirmed, but typically they are completed within six years. The cost of course fees is shared between Government and the employer.
 
Once the scheme has been developed and agreed in full, employers and universities offering RTPI-accredited planning courses can start to train the first apprentices from as early as Spring 2018.
 
Currently, the vast majority of planners enter the profession after graduating from RTPI-accredited undergraduate or postgraduate planning degrees. This development is in addition to these existing routes, which will continue.
 
Supported by the RTPI, a Trailblazer Group will develop the standard and the end-point-assessment for this Degree Apprenticeship. This group consists of employers, both public and private, supported by a wider consultative group of other employers, universities and training providers.
 
Philip Ridley, Head of Planning & Coastal Management at Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils and co-chair of the Trailblazer Group, said:
At a time when recruitment in the planning industry is extremely challenging this provides a fantastic opportunity for councils to develop and support local people wanting to work in planning and contribute to shaping and making the place where they live.
Richard Lemon, Director of Planning at the CBRE and co-chair of the Trailblazer Group, said:
This apprenticeship will provide a new pathway into the profession to help address the shortage of planners across the UK. It will help ensure there is a healthy pipeline of town planners to help deliver the jobs, growth and homes we need.
Andrew Close, RTPI Head of Careers, Education & Professional Development, said:
Many employers of planners have expressed a strong interest in alternative, workplace routes to becoming town planners. It is also timely in light of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. The apprenticeship will ensure that graduates gain the practical skills and academic training to succeed in the workplace. We hope talented young people will be attracted to embark on a town planning career through this pathway.
The RTPI has been seeking to introduce new routes for professional training and professional recognition as a Chartered Town Planner. The Institute gathered interested employers including local government, private consultancies and multi-disciplinary firms last December, all of whom confirmed the need for a Chartered Degree Apprenticeship for Town Planning.
 
The Trailblazer Group consists of: Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils (co-chair); CBRE (co-chair); Brighton and Hove City Council; Edgars Ltd; ELG Planning; Indigo Planning; Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Savills; Sedgemoor District Council; Sport England; South Cambridgeshire District Council; St Albans City & District Council; Thurrock Council; and Winchester City Council.

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