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Apprenticeship Programme “Integral” to Transport Planning Success

The Transport team at Leeds College of Building (@WeAre_LCB) is celebrating the success of a unique training programme as the country marks National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2021), taking place between 8 and 14 February 2021.

Over the last four years, 100% of learners on the Level 3 Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship have successfully completed their End Point Assessment, satisfying the registration requirements as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).

The Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship was created in 2016 in response to the skills shortages faced by the transport infrastructure sector, supported by the Government TrailBlazer Programme and the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).

An employer consortium – with full support from the CIHT, the Transport Planning Society (TPS), and Pearsons – helped to shape the course and align the programme to current sector needs. Now, four years later, the programme is thriving with over 120 first and second-year students, as well as those undergoing their End Point Assessment through CIHT. 

Emma Ranger, Senior Transport Planner at Arup, said:

“Arup took its first transport planning technician apprentices in 2016 across three of our UK offices and have successfully recruited at least one apprentice nearly every year since. Our apprentices are some of our most adaptable and enthusiastic staff members, quickly becoming integral to the delivery of projects and gaining the confidence to bring their views and experiences to the team. 

“The block release programme with Leeds College of Building enables apprentices to focus on their learning without work distractions, and the team at the College work hard to ensure that the learning aims are delivered with a real-world perspective.”

The Transport team at Leeds College of Building includes a Project Manager and four specialist lecturers with experience of working in the Transport Planning industry. Two staff hold PhDs in the subject and one is the BTEC Bronze Award Lecturer of the Year 2019. 

The Project Manager works closely with stakeholders such as the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium, the Transport Planning Society, and Pearson to ensure the programme is relevant and engaging as well as hosting events such as the 2019 CIHT Autumn Conference. 

End-to-end, the programme runs for three years, and apprentices gain a Level 3 BTEC Diploma & BTEC Skills Standard, alongside training as Transport Planning Technicians. Students benefit from the experience of working in the industry on innovative, sustainable solutions to transport challenges. 

Technicians learn the policy, legal, and regulatory context of transport planning, the collection and analysis of data, transport and traffic models, forecasting and principal analytical methods and software packages, and the assessment of transport and traffic policies, plans, and projects. 

The Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship programme engages with public sector authorities and private sector companies across the UK. Organisations send their apprentices on a block-release basis with an end-point assessment. 

A team of six assessors support the programme meeting apprentices across the country in diverse organisations including AECOM, Arup, Atkins, CAPITA, CH2M, Curtins, GTA Civils, Jacobs, Leicestershire County Council, Mott MacDonald, Stantec, Systra, Transport for London, Transport for the North, and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Apprentices have progressed into senior roles within their organisation, whilst others have gone on to further study undertaking degrees in both Civil Engineering and Transport Planning; the College is currently accepting applications for October 2021.

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