The first ever degree-level apprenticeship to train Environmental Practitioners in England has been launched today at WSP. The Government has agreed that final minor amendments to the End Point Assessment plan will be dealt with swiftly prior to publication. This means that employers in England are now able to recruit candidates to start the programme this autumn.
Louise Beamish, Head of Acoustics, WSP and Chair of the Trailblazer Group, said: “The launch of this degree apprenticeship marks a hugely significant milestone for the environmental industry and we are thrilled to have been involved in the development of the apprenticeship from the beginning. We very much hope this will become a primary route to an Environmental degree whilst gaining valuable vocational skills.”
The Level 6 Environmental Practitioner degree apprenticeship is a new route into the profession that combines academic education with practical experience to equip future employees. Through the programme, apprentices will develop the vital knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to proactively manage environmental projects and their impact in urban and rural areas, and through infrastructure programmes, whilst being able to balance social, economic, engineering and environmental issues.
Anna Bacon, Director, Waterman Infrastructure & Environment Ltd, and Co-Chair of the Trailblazer Group, said: “The Environmental Practitioner degree apprenticeship is an exciting development helping to capture new talent and making vital inroads into the long-recognised resource shortfall across our industry. Waterman is thrilled to have been part of the journey so far and we look forward to seeing this initiative produce some exceptional new environmental professionals."
Under this apprenticeship, developed by the Environmental Practitioner Apprenticeship Trailblazer Employer Group, with the support of the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC), apprentices will be able to earn a salary from an employer while completing a professionally accredited degree qualification in environmental sciences (or similar), and through the End Point Assessment process, be eligible to gain professional registration status through a range of environmental professional bodies licence by the Society for the Environment.
Emma Wilcox, Society for the Environment, Chief Executive, said: “we are delighted to see this new apprenticeship provide a new route into the environmental profession and will play our role in supporting the apprentices to achieve their required professional competence”
There is strong interest for the scheme, with over 30 employers interested in employing apprentices and at least seven professional bodies looking to support apprentices on their journey to professional membership and registration. The trailblazer group is working with at least five universities who are aiming to offer the apprenticeship from this September, with more set to come on board in the future.
“Mott MacDonald are delighted to be part of the launch of the Environmental Practitioner apprenticeship. We believe that giving a wider range of entry points into a career as an Environmental Practitioner is vital to ensure the industry attracts the widest possible diversity of people. This is important not just to help employers fill the resource gaps we have now, but to ensure we have voices from all parts of society engaged in the debate about how to value, conserve and protect our environment”, James Montgomery, Technical Director (Environment), Mott MacDonald, and Co-Chair of the Trailblazer Group.
Currently, the vast majority of environmental practitioners enter the profession after graduating from a range of undergraduate or postgraduate degrees from across a range of subjects. This apprenticeship will support those entering the profession, not only with the academic credibility of their graduate counterparts but will deliver the highly technical and professional skills and behaviours needed by professionals across and beyond the environmental sector.
The time needed to complete the apprenticeship can vary, but it is typically completed within four to six years. Levy-paying employers in England can use the levy to fund this apprenticeship, up the maximum funding rate of £27,000.
A formal launch will be taking place today (Wednesday 29th May 2019) at WSP in London, and will be attended by industry, higher education providers, and professional bodies.