TPTech and the Technician Apprenticeship

Transport Planning Technician qualification (TPTech)

Transport Planning Technician (TPTech) is the latest qualification offered by TPS.  The Standard was settled last year after a full consultation period, working with employers and other organisations and can be found here.  It is set at the same level as other technician level qualifications, in particular EngTech.  However it is entirely focussed on transport planning.  As well as being valuable in its own right, it provides a stepping stone to further qualifications:  Incorporated Transport Planner (IncTP) and Transport Planning Professional (TPP). IncTP can be achieved by successfully completing the TPS Professional Development Scheme (PDS) which covers the same set of competences as TPP.  Thus it fulfils the first stage (Knowledge) of a TPP application, and provides targeted material for the Experience stage and final review.  Holders of the TPP are now entitled to chartered status as CTPP, subject to paying a fee and membership of an approved professional body such as TPS.

TPTech and the Technician apprenticeship/BTEC

The Transport Planning Technician Level 3 apprenticeship was originally mapped to the same standards as TPP and PDS so is completely compatible with TPTech.  The revised standard for the Level 3 apprenticeship due for approval this summer includes TPS as an End Point Assessment (EPA) body and TPS is in the middle of the application process to gain Government approval as such.  The plan is that TPTech will be available for apprentices for the 2021 round of EPAs.

Completion of the Level 3 apprenticeship, and as a result achieving the BTEC in transport planning, will avoid the need for a written submission as set out below.  The final review will meet the requirements of the EPA, including external quality control, probably by Ofqual.  This includes a project presentation and a Q&A session.

TPTech without an approved BTEC

At the moment applications for TPTech through the non-apprenticeship route can be gained by submitting an application form which includes evidence that they meet the TPTech Standard (see above), and attending a professional review.  This will include candidates giving a short presentation (with a Q&A following) on a project they have been involved with, similar to that required for the apprenticeship EPA.

Candidates will be asked to:

  • Provide details of any educational qualifications, including apprenticeships, BTEC, degree level
  • Outline their career history
  • Show records of their work based learning
  • Where an approved qualification has not been completed:

Make a written submission to show how the five areas of competency from the Standard, have been achieved during the candidate’s work experience.  These are set out below.  Examples of what could be included in the written submission can be found in the TPTech Standard.  Answers will be expected not to exceed 500 words for each area.

The TPTech 5 areas of competence:

A     Use transport planning knowledge and understanding to apply technical and practical skills

B     Contribute to the design, development, or operation of safe and sustainable transport planning solutions or processes, programmes or services

C     Accept and exercise personal responsibility

D     Use effective communication and interpersonal skills

E      Make a personal commitment to an appropriate code of professional conduct, recognising obligations to society, the profession and the environment.

  • Provide personal information and details about:
    • Themselves
    • Sponsors
    • Their employment
    • How and when they would like their review to be held (this will normally be a remote review)
    • Any specific technical expertise which may require an expert reviewer.

The Technician apprenticeship and current EPA

Before TPTech was available, apprentices were offered EngTech as part of their EPA through CIHT.  Apprentices have been very successful in their course and project work, some gaining awards such as Apprentice of the Year.  It is intended that EngTech will still be offered to transport planning technicians who wish to pursue a more engineering pathway, hopefully to IEng and CEng.  TPTech will then put them on the pathway to IncTP and TPP/CTPP.

The Technician apprenticeship so far

So far the scheme has attracted about 40 apprentices a year and training has continued despite Covid 19.  Before the current crisis, TPS Board member, Laura Putt, interviewed two of them.

Meet two of the UK's first Transport Planning Apprentices

Brandon and Sadia  are amongst the first to complete the two-year transport planning apprenticeship with Transport for London (TfL) and now hold the EngTech qualification. Member of the TPS Board Laura Putt asked them a few questions about their experiences so far. TP Apprentices

Sadia

What was your path into transport planning ?

As soon as I completed my A-levels, I started my career at TfL. After looking at the available schemes, I applied to the Transport Planning Apprenticeship: it stood out as it covered lots of different placements. The reason I wanted to work in transport is so I can contribute to such an important part to daily life.

How did the Apprentice scheme compare to your expectations ?

The Apprentice scheme has been more varied than I expected. I got the opportunity to work in multiple teams on many different aspects such as the Policy side, Project Management, Modelling, and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping.

Overall, I’ve most enjoyed being able to work on a project and then go outside and see that change I made. For example, it could be as small as getting the consent to install a camera at a station and as large as working on HS2 – It’s great to see my work in real life.

What does a typical day look like for you in your job ?

Currently as an Assistant Strategic Analyst in the GIS team, a typical day sees me responding to map requests and contributing to different projects. I’m helping out with the Cycle Infrastructure Database Project and updating the current network from ITN (Integrated Transport Network in Ordnance Survey) to Highways.

I am also a member of the Transport Planning Society and CIHT (Charted Institution of Highway and Transport) and ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) so that gives me opportunities to get involved with seminars and events. I took part in a young professionals’ panel for CIHT and gave my thoughts on the transport industry and how it is for us apprentices starting a career in transport.

What are some of the biggest transport planning challenges that you are currently working on ?

A current challenge is getting my head around the programme language ‘R’ which is used for data analysis. I’ve attending training courses and I’ve started to feel more confident as I try to implement it in producing maps.

What are your plans for the future ?

The Transport Planning Apprentice scheme been a good starting point for my career as I’ve been able to work with many people in different departments, which allowed me to see what I enjoy. I also figured out my strengths, for example, I enjoy working with numbers and not so much a job that entails mainly report writing. In future I want to be more involved in project design (so perhaps a career in the engineering sector) and a longer term goal would be to work abroad.

As part of completing the Apprenticeship scheme, I am now registered with the Engineering council and officially an EngTech. Next steps for me would be working towards getting an IEng and, one day, to be chartered.

Brandon

What was your path into transport planning ?

My original plan was to study urban planning at university. I didn’t get the A-Level grades I needed and ended up studying a subject I was not passionate about and dropped out after one year. When browsing the careers section on TfL website I found a new apprenticeship in exactly the industry I wanted to end up in. I had never considered an apprenticeship before this point...

How did the Apprentice scheme compare to your expectations ?

Being an apprentice at TfL completely exceeded my expectations. Truthfully, I applied not because I especially wanted to be an apprentice but because it was the only immediate route into planning available to me at that time.  

I was paid the London Living Wage which allowed me to live independently. The taught part of the apprenticeship course was in Leeds and I have made some of my closest friends through the apprenticeship. I have been awarded an EngTech qualification in Transport Planning which demonstrates competency in my field at the professional level, holds academic value and is internationally recognised. I am now in a permanent full-time job and in terms of career prospects and progression, I am better placed than many of my friends that have recently graduated.

I have spent time volunteering at recruitment events and speaking to young people about the benefits and opportunities apprenticeships can create. If you’re considering applying for the Apprenticeship then do it! What have you got to lose?

What does a typical day look like for you in your job?

It is very difficult to describe a ‘typical’ day because every day is different. During my apprenticeship I moved teams every six months and was involved in a range of projects. I conducted transport modelling to understand potential cycle movements as a result of a new Cycle Superhighway, I produced a report to understand and mitigate environmental impacts of a possible tram system and conducted critical data analysis to inform the development of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. I also developed skills in GIS and do a fair bit of mapping work.

What are some of the biggest transport planning challenges that you are currently working on?

In my current role as an Assistant City (Transport) Planner a lot of my time is spent preparing business cases and associated planning documents for transport projects. Most of my work relates to the planning of the Bakerloo Line Extension from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham. Noting that this project is still in the relatively early planning stages, a significant challenge that I and my wider team face relates to where stations will be installed on the proposed route. Major considerations include: where would station construction be feasible from an access and engineering perspective? What is the optimum alignment that will enable the greatest unlocking of new homes and jobs?

What are your plans for the future?

In terms of my future, I don’t have a set plan! It’s my (very) long term plan to move abroad and I’m currently taking German lessons in the evening. There is also the prospect of a degree apprenticeship which sounds a good opportunity. Combined with the EngTech qualification I hope this will set me up for a meaningful and prosperous career in transport, no matter where I end up.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Web design by Tribal Systems