Today, the first ever degree apprenticeship for Transport Planners in England has been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
Sir Gerry Berragan, Chief Executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education said, “Modern apprenticeships open up a range of highly-skilled jobs to a more diverse range of candidates, giving apprentices the opportunity to earn while they learn. I am delighted that our transport planning sector will benefit from this high-quality apprenticeship while another route into an exciting career is opened to our learners.”
Designed by employers, the Level 6 Transport Planner degree apprenticeship opens up a new route into the profession that combines academic education with practical experience.
Christine Crossley, Chair, Transport Planning Trailblazer group and Peter Brett Associates, now part of Stantec, added,"I’m delighted that The Employers Working Group has successfully developed a new route into the transport planning profession by establishing a degree apprenticeship which combines an academic programme with practical experience through a supportive employer.
"A wide range of employers have been working closely with the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC), universities, and professional bodies to develop the apprenticeship which will be launched in September this year for delivery at Aston University.
"Through the apprenticeship, transport planners will acquire the technical knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to develop sustainable solutions to the complex transport challenges in our society. It provides a clear path for those entering the profession and for those looking to progress from a technician qualification or practical background. Linking closely with the Transport Planning Society’s Professional Development Scheme, it provides a step towards the Transport Planning Professional qualification."
Employers in England are now able to recruit candidates to start the programme this autumn at Aston University, through which apprentices will develop the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to become professional members of the Transport Planning community with apprentices earning a salary from an employer.
The apprenticeship is also an ideal route for those on the three-year level-three transport planning technician apprenticeship after they have successfully completed their end point assessment with the CIHT.
Keith Mitchell, Chairman, Peter Brett Associates, now part of Stantec said, "In 2002, the Transport Planning Society announced a Transport Planning Skills Initiative (TPSI), with the ambition to create a route for professional development in transport planning, making it a truly recognised and respected career in the built environment professions.
"Fifteen-years after the completion of the TPSI, we can now look back on the creation of a professional qualification, a professional development scheme, the establishment of a technician apprenticeship and now a degree apprenticeship – making transport planning at degree level widely available for the first time. It has required the involvement and support of a wide range of people and organisations, all of whom share the ambition to put the transport planning profession on the map.
"We now have routes for entry into a transport planning career for school leavers and graduates, and development routes that suit a wide range of candidates, ensuring that our profession is welcoming to a diverse range of people bringing the skills that we need. This is a truly exciting development, and we are committed to playing our part in making it a real success."
Currently, the vast majority of transport planners enter the profession after graduating from undergraduate or postgraduate degrees from across a range of subjects. This apprenticeship will support those entering the transport planning profession, not only with the academic credibility of their graduate counterparts but will deliver the highly technical and professional skills and behaviours needed by our transport planners.
There has been strong interest for the scheme, with a wide range of employers interested in recruiting and progressing apprentices; the professional bodies are also supporting apprentices on their journey through the Transport Planning Society Professional Development Scheme (PDS) which should be run alongside academic learning in the workplace.
Keith Buchan, the Transport Planning Society (TPS) Director of Skills said, “This is an important part of completing the transport planning skills and qualifications landscape and will work in close support of other skills initiatives. It is entirely in tune with both the TPS PDS and the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification and offers an exciting new route into our great profession.”
During the development of this apprenticeship, the trailblazer group has worked with several universities to develop bespoke degrees which include the assessment of the apprenticeship, with the first of these set to launch in September 2019 at Aston University.
Lucy Rackliff, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Logistics, Aston University said, “Transport challenges are not going away; with work on HS2 underway, environmental impacts of transport, and the complex mobility needs of an ageing population to be addressed, skilled professionals will be more in demand than ever. Aston has a long history of excellence in undergraduate transport education. We are hugely excited to continue this tradition by being the first institution to offer a Degree Apprenticeship in Transport Planning.”
The time needed to complete the apprenticeship can vary, but it is typically completed within four to five years. Levy-paying employers in England can use the levy to fund this apprenticeship, up the maximum funding rate of £23,000.