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Judith Taylor: All about apprenticeships

Dr Judith Taylor is Head of Education at the RTPI

The RTPI has a long history of carrying out educational activity – indeed, its right and responsibility to do so are enshrined in its Royal Charter. The Institute’s education work includes the provision of continuous professional development programmes for those working in planning, so that core knowledge and skills are kept up-to-date. The Institute is also at the forefront of setting education standards through its accreditation of university degree courses, directly supporting the pipeline of professional planners. We currently partner with 25 Planning Schools in the UK, as well as three in Ireland and four across the rest of the world.

We entered an exciting new era when, in 2019, the Chartered Town Planner degree apprenticeship programme began in England. With over 500 registered students at eleven providers – all RTPI-accredited Planning Schools - this programme allows employers to grow their own talent and for apprentices to learn while they earn and gain real planning work experience.

Another important development in the Institute’s education arsenal is our level four Town Planning Assistant apprenticeship, which launched in England in 2021. If you know of any other colleges or universities that may be interested in developing this apprenticeship with us, joining Chichester College as a provider, then please get in touch: [email protected].

This week, we’re proud that the success and the hard work of all our apprentices, current and past, are celebrated during National Apprenticeship Week. Apprentices like Maryam Watson, who stumbled on an apprenticeship opportunity after completing an undergraduate degree in History or Kate Bailey who really benefited from the combination of practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

We’re also excited to have been invited to join London South Bank University at their 'Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeships Made Easy!' event on 8 February, which will be attended by RTPI President Sue Bridge. The event is free to attend and is a great opportunity to learn more about the apprenticeship programme. 

We look forward to our apprenticeships continuing to go from strength to strength. They are critical to our mission to ensure that there are a variety of routes to support anyone, regardless of background, to enter our world-changing profession. The RTPI continues to champion planning through its diversity and inclusion actions and our work on student bursaries, Planning Your World, work experience and mentoring programmes.

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Our EXPLORE work experience pilot, launched in January 2022, aims to encourage young people, particularly those from Asian, Black, minority ethnic communities and lower socio-economic backgrounds, to become planners.

The RTPI also offers various types of mentoring opportunities to support planners through all stages of their career.

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