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Sue Bridge: Shaping the next generation of planners

The Royal Town Planning Institute has been helping shape British Town Planners through London South Bank University for over 50 years. Last week, I attended the RTPI’s Apprenticeship Made Easy Workshop at the university to speak to young planners and prospective employers about the importance of Chartered Town Planner Degree apprenticeships.

The RTPI has been instrumental in establishing Chartered Town Planner Degree apprenticeships. We worked closely with town planning employees in both the public and private sectors to design a scheme that would secure government approval.  I know that a great deal of hard work went into securing that approval and that there were some anxious moments on the way, but the programme is proving to be highly successful. There have been 233 apprentices from 95 different employees on the scheme so far. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, 40% are of BAME heritage, 47% are female and 57% are under 25. In 2022, 18 apprentices successfully completed their EPA to achieve Chartered status.

Why is Chartership so important?

Planning is a creative and exciting profession. Planners work for the common good to create places where communities live, work and thrive. Planning is the golden thread that draws the built and natural environment together and has key and critical role to play in creating and maintaining sustainable communities, in tackling nature depletion and the climate emergency.

But while ours is an exciting and important profession, we find ourselves with a shortage of planners, which is why the success of the apprenticeship programme is so important, as it is an alternative  route into the profession and to Chartership, so aspiring planners can earn and learn.

Chartered Town Planners represent the gold standard of planning practice. Chartered Town Planners must abide by the RTPI’s Code of Professional Conduct and ethical standards, which are so important as planners make decisions that impact on the built and natural environment and for the long-term wellbeing of communities.

Chartered Town Planners are obliged to continue their professional development through their career. By being Charted, planners have access to a wide range of learning modules, courses and events as a path to continued development.  Chartered planners are also a part of a network, a member of the planning community.

National Apprenticeship Week may be over, but the RTPI’s work to promote planning as a career will continue. We’ve worked hard on our Planning Your World website to highlight the important work that can be achieved through a planning career, showcasing a range of individuals who carved out their own paths in the profession. I strongly encourage anyone still curious about what they can achieve through a Chartered Town Planner Degree apprenticeship to head there for further information.

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