The first town planning technical support apprenticeships in the country have been completed at Chichester College.
And to celebrate the occasion, the college brought together all its town planning apprentices for a special afternoon to recognise their accomplishments.
This entry level apprenticeship programme was first introduced at the college in 2015, with five apprentices embarking on the scheme which was developed by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Construction Industry Council.
Jamie Alley, Nicholas Whittington, Greg Anderson, Alex Carruthers and Andrew Pommells were the first five to sign up, and completed their course in 2017, followed by twenty further apprentices completing their studies this year.
Since then the programme has grown phenomenally, with more than forty town planning apprentices from more than 30 employers from around the country – including Derbyshire and Suffolk – studying at Chichester College to date.
Jamie, who has gone on to university to complete his degree qualification, said: “The apprenticeship experience we had was invaluable.
“Without this, I wouldn’t have gone on to university and I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.
“From day one we were working with professionals, getting real experience and employed in a job that without the apprenticeship I wouldn’t have been able to do at that stage.
“And our experience at Chichester was brilliant – the teaching we received was fantastic.”
Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director (Commercial) at the Chichester College Group, added: “We are extremely proud to be among the first colleges to celebrate the successful completion of town planning apprenticeships.
“As a college group, we are committed to working with industry to deliver courses and training that meet their needs. This ensures that our students and apprentices are learning the skills they need to ensure their employability.
“Our initial research found there was a need for apprenticeships in this field, so to see this course grow from five to 45 in just three years is a tremendous achievement and I look forward to continued growth in numbers.”
The town planning apprenticeship has been developed for people who are working in a technical or administrative support role in planning, combining workplace experience with time in the classroom.
It offers an alternative route for people to get into the planning profession – although the skills learnt are transferrable for a number of roles in the building industry.
Cat Goumal, Senior Professional Development Coordinator from the Royal Town Planning Institute said: “We are delighted to see the success of the first town planning technical support apprentices.
“This first apprenticeship in town planning gives apprentices a wide range of skills and knowledge at the start of their careers.”