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Degree apprenticeship gets Government funding promise despite IfA rejection

09 July 2018

The Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship Trailblazer Employer Group and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) have received written confirmation that the degree-level apprenticeship will receive the highest band of funding from the Government.

The degree apprenticeship scheme will receive “the maximum amount of government funding available to employers per apprentice for a particular apprenticeship standard, as a contribution towards the costs of external training and assessment”, the Government letter dated 29 June 2018 said.

The funding is confirmed despite an appeal that the trailblazer group has lodged to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), after the latter rejected the scheme’s assessment plan in April. A ruling is expected in the summer.

Philip Ridley, co-chair of the Trailblazer Group, said:

“The latest funding decision from the Government illustrates that the Chartered Town Planner apprenticeship should be accepted so that apprentices can start.  Employers and universities are ready to go.

“The IfA’s misunderstanding of the role of chartered bodies in assessing competence is putting delivery of the Government’s agenda for housing and infrastructure at risk." 

Victoria Hills, RTPI Chief Executive, said:

“It is fantastic news that the Government has indicated their commitment to funding this scheme at the highest band, which goes to show how valuable and urgent the training of planners through a more diversified route is to the country.

“Over 20 employers and six universities have been hoping to recruit this September. We urge the IfA to accept our proposed assessment method, which is in line with the high standard we use to assess professional competence in all our Chartered Members for 50 years.”

The Government approved the principle of a Chartered Town Planning Apprenticeship in May 2017, developed by the Trailblazer Group with help and support from the RTPI. 

The IfA endorsed the scheme’s Apprenticeship Standard in January this year which sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of successful apprentices to be eligible for Chartered Membership of the RTPI. The assessment method is based on the RTPI’s current Assessment of Professional Competence for admitting Chartered Members.

But in April, the IfA cited a number of concerns in the assessment method – the end-point assessment plan (EPA) – and did not approve it.