What qualifications do you have?

In addition to a Master's degree from the University in Delft in Holland and a PhD from the Institute for Transport Studies in Leeds, I am a Transport Planning Professional (TPP).

I take particular pride in my TPP qualification as it is specific to transport planning; a profession of which I am proud.

I was a member of what were then IHT and CIT (now CIHT and CILT) in the 1990s, but I gave these memberships up after few years as they had little relevance to me as a transport planner. While the wider remit of both CIHT and CILT make their qualifications less relevant for me personally, they do have international recognition.

How important have professional qualifications been to you in developing your career?

Professional qualifications have not been of great importance to me personally in my career, for three reasons, all of which are now changing. First, much of my working life has taken place during periods of growth, when the demand for staff was greater. Second, modelling was seen as a niche skill, for which no relevant professional qualifications existed. And finally, most of my work has been in England and the rest of Europe, where academic qualifications were more important than professional qualifications. However, with a relevant qualification now available for transport planners in a tight job market that is increasingly reliant on an international workload, having a professional qualification, such as the TPP, is definitely an advantage.

What importance do Mott MacDonald place on professional qualifications in the development of the careers of your transport planners?

In Mott MacDonald we encourage our staff to seek professional qualifications, including the TPP. Progress through the hierarchy depends on our staff achieving an appropriate professional status, and in transport we support this through the TPS Professional Development Scheme.

Of course, the value is not in the letters after your name, but in what you have learned during the process! For example, in the recent downturn we saw that it was much easier to redeploy those with a wider understanding of transport planning with associated competencies than the single specialist 'one trick ponies'.

Why should transport planners seek professional qualifications?

A key benefit of professional qualifications is that they show a pride in your profession and some level of responsibility for your own career development. Employers recognise this. As you get older, this aspect of professional qualifications, being member of the club, becomes even more valuable, easing networking and enabling you to stay on top of your game. The TPP requirement for a minimum amount of CPD is to me a no-brainer - being a professional means life-long training. That's why I encourage my younger colleagues to pursue through the PDS the TPP qualification.


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