Posted on 09 February 2021

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and to celebrate, Leeds College of Building are showcasing the Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship.

Launched in 2016, the sought-after Level 3 Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship was initiated through the Government TrailBlazer Programme and the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), in response to the skills shortages faced by the transport infrastructure sector. 

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 booming with over 120 first and second-year students, as well as those undergoing their End Point Assessment through CIHT. 

Now, four years later, the programme is booming with over 120 first and second-year students, as well as those undergoing their End Point Assessment through CIHT.

The team

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 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. 

Picture of the motorway in Leeds

Leeds Skyline

What apprentices will learn

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

Learners gain experience of alternative methods of scheme design and development through field trips to The Netherlands and Germany. Apprentices take part in transportation focus groups, cultural exchanges, and meet local council representatives to understand how modal use differs internationally.

The trip involves no flying to allow learners to experience, ferries, trains, cycling, suspended railways, monorails, canal bikes, walking, electric and guided bus routes, and many other forms of transport. These trips contribute to the teaching and assessment of two of the course units.

The Transport Planning Technician Apprenticeship programme engages with public sector authorities and private sector companies across the UK

Links with employers

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.

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."

On successful completion of the apprenticeship, individuals have satisfied the requirements for registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).

Since 2016, 98% of learners have successfully completed their End Point Assessment, with many choosing to obtain EngTech status through CIHT.  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, if you are interested in finding out more about the apprenticeship please contact Sarah Carter, Project Manager, 0113 222 6049 /

You can find out more about the Transport Planning Apprenticeship here.