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RTPI supporting Planning Skills Fund delivery

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has been selected as a preferred delivery partner for the Planning Skills Fund, a new five-year industry programme aimed at increasing skills and capacity in Local Planning Authorities across the UK.

The programme fund is being led and managed by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), with the training bursary process delivered by the RTPI. Aviva, a Founding Partner of the programme, has already committed £500,000 to the fund.

In the Spring Budget 2024, the UK government committed to match £3m against the programme fund, demonstrating ongoing support to addressing the skills gap in Local Planning Authorities.

As the professional body for town planners, the RTPI brings expertise in accreditation and competency frameworks. The RTPI is a convenor on skills and training across the sector, including brokering engagement with its accredited planning schools at 25 universities in the UK.

The RTPI and the BCC will explore working together to design the scheme, with advice from the founding partners, for launch by 2025.

The initiative aims to unlock additional resources and government commitments by training more planners and investing in the upskilling of mid-career professionals.

The programme will include funding individuals to gain an RTPI-accredited degree or post-graduate qualification in planning. The intention, in return for the funded training, is that participants  work in a Local Planning  Authority department for at least two years, ensuring that the knowledge and skills gained are directly applied to benefit the community.

The BCC programme bursary will be accessible to learners from across the country.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI said, "I am confident that this new innovative industry-led programme will make a significant contribution to our profession and supporting planning services across the UK, and relieving some of the strain on overstretched planning officers, as borne out in our recent members survey.

“This essential funding will help train additional skilled and qualified planners, bolstering the skills and capacity in councils to effectively serve communities. We are delighted to be working in partnership with others on this important initiative."

Jane Gratton, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the BCC, said: “We know the delivery of this programme could not be in safer hands with the RTPI on board.

“Our five-year business-led programme, in partnership with government, is a real opportunity to boost local planning skills and capacity and make the system quicker and more efficient for everyone.  

“The lack of resource in our planning system is a huge issue, and a drag-anchor on the economy’s forward momentum which we must cast loose. 

“This is great example of business providing solutions to the big problems that impact on people and local economies.  We are investing in talent to provide a pipeline of new and upskilled town planners to work in councils across the UK.

“This will help ease the pinch points holding back investment in housing and infrastructure that our communities so urgently need.”

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