Hounslow Council has welcomed four new town planning apprentices as part of a new programme in response to a national shortage of town planners across the public sector.
The new apprentices will join three existing officers who will be up-skilling by undertaking town planning qualifications through apprenticeships.
Recent research from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) shows that a quarter of planners left the public sector between 2013 and 2020. Meanwhile, the private sector experienced an 80 per cent increase in the number of employed planners.
The chief executive of Hounslow Council, Niall Bolger, who started his career as a town planner at a local authority, recently hosted a Q&A session with the new intake of apprentices to explore their motivations for joining Hounslow and areas of interest within the sector.
The cohort will study Chartered Town Planning at London South Bank University and will get the opportunity to rotate between the various planning specialisms throughout their apprenticeship to get a well-rounded experience of planning within a local authority. Once they complete their apprenticeships, they will be eligible for membership of the RTPI.
As part of the Council’s new Youth Skills and Employment Guarantee (YSEG), Hounslow has committed to providing a minimum of 10 apprenticeships and employment opportunities for our care-experienced young people. The town planning cohort includes Alban Isaku, a Hounslow care leaver, who recently shared his journey to land the exciting opportunity to earn a new qualification while working for the Council.
Niall Bolger, chief executive of Hounslow Council, said:
“Having started my career as a town planner, I know how rich and rewarding the role is, providing a broad range of experience and teaching me skills that I still utilise daily as Chief Executive.
“The programme encompasses our organisational values, doing new and passing on the power to equip colleagues with greater skills and knowledge. It’s vital we continue to unlock opportunities for local people to be part of our organisation, and I’m delighted that we are leading the way with our YSEG commitment by offering a place on this course to a Hounslow care leaver. YSEG is a movement that will support young people for the future while enriching the local talent pool for the Council and local businesses.”
Councillor Tom Bruce, cabinet member for Regeneration and Development, added:
“This investment by the Council in the next generation of town planners is fantastic. Our ambitious plans for the borough won’t be achieved overnight; much of our work today, in planning, development and regeneration, will be realised in 5 to 10 years’ time and enjoyed for generations to come. The local knowledge the apprentices will develop throughout the course will be invaluable for the borough.
“We face huge challenges in local government to create thriving and sustainable neighbourhoods for local people while delivering affordable homes, public services and critical infrastructure that communities need. It’s vital we have a highly skilled officers to address these.”
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