The approval of a new entry-level town planning apprenticeship is an important step forward in efforts to diversify the profession, says the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
The role of the new Level 4 Town Planning Assistant Apprenticeship is to work with Chartered town planners to deliver new developments and to help members of the public and clients to navigate the planning system.
The RTPI says that the apprenticeship offers an important new route into planning. It is designed for those who would either like to embark on a career in town planning or for those currently working in support roles in the profession who would like to ‘upskill’ and open up new career paths.
RTPI Director of Education & Profession Andrew Close MRTPI said:
"We’re delighted that this new entry point into town planning has now been approved for delivery and would like to thank all the employers in the Trailblazer group who have worked so hard to make this happen.
"Apprenticeships are vital for the future of planning, helping not only to increase the number of planners and address skills shortages, but also to diversify the profession, demonstrating that it is a career open to all.
"They are an excellent way of getting more qualified and dedicated professional planners coming through so we can respond effectively to the many challenges ahead of us, including post-Covid recovery, climate change and housing shortages."
The new Level 4 apprenticeship joins the Level 7 Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship which was approved for delivery in March 2019. There are currently around 300 degree apprentices studying at 10 RTPI-accredited planning schools around the country, working with employers in both the public and private sectors. The RTPI is currently engaging with prospective colleges to design the new Level 4 programme. It will be available in England.
Philip Ridley MRTPI, Head of Planning and Coastal Management at East Suffolk Council and Co-Chair of the Trailblazer group, said:
"I was delighted to lead this work alongside CBRE’s Hannah Blunstone on behalf of both the RTPI and employers.
"At a time when the government acknowledges there is an acute shortage of planners, this new apprenticeship will further broaden potential entry routes into the profession and give opportunities to many who would not previously have considered a career in planning.
"This will increase the number of planners who can then move on to the Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship or provide the much-needed technical support for Chartered planners working as part of multi-disciplinary teams.
"Perhaps most importantly, the approval of this apprenticeship is a great opportunity to increase the diversity of the profession which can only enhance the quality of planning schemes to deliver the places we need."