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The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has agreed the establishment of a Displaced Planners Pathway to Work Fund to assist displaced planning professionals entering the planning profession in the UK and Ireland.

The fund is specifically designed to support the increasing number of planning professionals displaced worldwide due to conflicts or natural disasters. Currently, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, with an estimated 108.4 million people forced from their homes, according to the UNHCR's Refugee Population Statistics Database.

To be eligible for the fund, applicants must already have ‘permission to work’ in the UK and be able to prove they previously studied or worked in the field of town planning or a similar professional discipline prior to coming to the UK. Applicants must have been in the UK for less than ONE year. 

The fund is to support displaced planners ‘real time’ to get back to work and / or education in planning once in the UK. The dispensation of the fund requires formal sign-off by the Chief Executive.

The fund will be limited to providing immediate support for the following purposes:

  • use of travel expenses associated with attending job / university interviews and training or work experience/shadowing;
  • the purchase of IT equipment such as laptops or tablets; and
  • appropriate one-off purchases that can be clearly shown to support their journey back into employment into town planning and closely related built environment professions such as urban design, regeneration, environmental planning, as agreed by the Chief Executive. Purchases would include work clothing and/or equipment needed for the interview / training / job.

The fund is limited to a maximum of £2,000 per individual, plus Affiliate membership, with a value of £120.

For this reason, it will only be possible to make one-off grants to support displaced individuals, and the fund is unable to assist with:

  • An existing or projected shortfall in income due to reduced part-time job opportunities or consumer debts such as credit cards and loans
  • Awards for educational purposes (for information on support for educational purpose click here)
  • Awards to support family members in the UK or overseas

Awards from the fund will also provide applicants with free RTPI Affiliate memberships for up to two years. (membership runs from January to December). The offer of a limited two-year RTPI Affiliate Membership is not conditional to having applied for support for the other eligible benefits (which they may not want to do or need) but is given to any identified displaced planners (by application only) to support their access to professional networks as they resettle in the UK and Ireland.

In becoming an Affiliate member, the applicant can access to APC webinars to support on their journey to becoming recognised formally as a professional planner within the UK and Ireland.