Universities had been gearing up to offer the new route into the town planning profession in September, however the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) failed to approve it and a request to appeal the decision has been turned down.
The IFA’s decision has been called an enormous setback to the efforts the planning profession is making to deliver the government’s housing agenda.
The Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship Trailblazer Employer Group have received confirmation that their appeal to overturn the decision by the Institute for Apprenticeships to not approve the Level 7 Chartered Town Planner Apprentice Standard has been rejected.
The independent reviewer of the appeal, a data scientist, has ruled that the Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship Trailblazer group, comprised of 20 senior planning professionals, did not meet the grounds for appeal set by the IFA. This decision was made despite the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) confirming days ago that the Apprenticeship Standard should receive the highest funding band.
This is a further setback to the launch of the Chartered Town Planning Apprenticeship and means that universities and employers are no closer to being able to offer this important route into the profession. Universities across the country had been working to deliver the apprenticeship in September.
This decision again demonstrates the reluctance of the IFA to understand and accommodate the role of chartered bodies in assessing professional competence, and the importance that employers place on quality assured professional qualifications that are devised by the sector’s experts.
Philip Ridley, co-chair of the Trailblazer Group said, “This decision again demonstrates the reluctance of the IFA to understand and accommodate the role of chartered bodies in assessing professional competence, and the importance that employers place on quality assured professional qualifications that are devised by the sector’s experts.
“It would be helpful if the IFA could share their paperwork with us so that we can understand the detail of the original rejection. We are disappointed that the IFA did not respond to our request to allow representatives of the Trailblazer Group to attend the appeal meeting.
“Employers urgently need to take on chartered town planner apprentices. We are not alone in saying government reforms to ensure that employers drive apprenticeships to make them fit for purpose are clearly failing under the IFA.
Victoria Hills MRTPI, RTPI Chief Executive added, “We are mystified and dismayed at this decision. It seems the appeal didn’t even get off the starting blocks. The RTPI strongly disagrees with the IFA’s judgement on the validity of the proposed assessment method, which is in line with our gold standard assessment of professional competence in all our Chartered Members.
“The IFA’s decision is at odds with their very recent promise that the Apprenticeship route should attract the highest funding band. It proves once again that the IFA is not prepared to listen to the planning employers and universities on the Trailblazers group, which is of great concern as the number of apprentices continues to decline. It is not just the profession that has received a setback, it is also the Government’s own housing agenda as planners are key to delivering the homes the country needs.
“At this particular time, when the need for professional competencies and standards in the built environment professions has never been higher, we will continue to make the case for apprenticeship routes to align closely with professional qualifications honed and delivered by Chartered bodies over many years.”