Royal Town Planning Institute launches bursary scheme

Royal Town Planning Institute launches bursary scheme with universities and employers to attract future planners.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is launching a Future Planners bursary scheme, initially with 16 universities across the UK and Ireland, to encourage more students, particularly from related subjects such as law and geography, to study planning at Masters level. The scheme is also generously supported by a number of employers.

For 2015, students can apply for a bursary worth £1,000, co-funded by the RTPI and the participating university, and sponsored by a number of leading employers of planning graduates, including Atkins, Bilfinger GVA and Quod. More universities and sponsors are expected to join the scheme.

A recent survey by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that 71.3 percent of architecture, planning and building graduates find work within six months of graduating, making it the fourth most successful degree subject for finding work after completion.

Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said:

“Planning is a multi-faceted and rewarding career. Having lectured and worked internationally, I know that British planning schools and the planners they educate are well respected around the world and held in high professional esteem. RTPI accredited planning schools offer high quality education which stands their graduates in good stead to work anywhere in the world. There has never been a better time to become a planner with its exciting and challenging issues.”

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“Planning is a hugely important area, spanning from protecting our heritage buildings and wonderful countryside, to providing for current and future housing and business needs, supporting growth and promoting great design. Right across the country planners work at the cutting edge of shaping how the country will look in future.  This is why we need to keep encouraging talent into the planning profession, which can only ever be as good as the people who work in it. I warmly welcome the RTPI’s introduction of their bursary scheme, which will draw some of the best and brightest graduates to continuing their studies into planning at master’s degree level.”

Joanne Farrar from Atkins, a leading planning, engineering and environmental consultancy and scheme sponsor said:

“Atkins is very pleased to support the RTPI bursary scheme this year.  We are committed to making our dynamic and diverse profession an attractive career option to current and future generations.   We are also passionate about helping to provide exciting employment opportunities for the UK’s young people so we can continue to attract the best talent to the profession and help plan the communities of the future.”

Nick Harrison, Director and Graduate Champion at Bilfinger GVA, one of the largest commercial property advisers operating throughout the UK and Ireland said:

“Education is the bedrock of social progress and economic development. By encouraging the best graduates to pursue a career in planning the profession will be better equipped to ensure sustainable economic development and a better environment. As the UK economy continues to recover, the opportunities for planners will become even more diverse, and competition to recruit talented graduates will only intensify. Career prospects for new planners are now better than ever, but this needs to be highlighted if UK planning schools are to continue to attract top graduates in the face of stiff competition from other courses. Bilfinger GVA is delighted to support the Future Planners Bursary Scheme as part of our wider commitment to nurturing talent and enhancing the reputation of the planning profession.”

Sue Willcox, Director of Quod, a planning consultancy and scheme sponsor said:

“Quod is pleased to support the RTPI in nurturing the next generation of talented planners. Skills and knowledge are crucial to the quality of our industry. The profession is becoming attractive to young people who recognise that it is a creative and rewarding way to make a difference to society. We hope that the bursary scheme will help to attract students from a broad academic background to enter planning, to contribute to the diversity of our profession.”

Professor Nick Gallent, Head of the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London said:

“This is an important initiative by the RTPI and the Bartlett School of Planning is pleased to be working together with the Institute to support new planners at the very beginning of their careers.”

The following universities have signed up to the scheme:

University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Cardiff University, Heriot-Watt University, Leeds Beckett University, London South Bank University, Manchester University, Newcastle University, Oxford Brookes University, Plymouth University, Queen’s Belfast University, Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University, University College Cork, University College London, University of the West of England.

Students starting on RTPI fully accredited Masters in 2015 may be eligible for a bursary if they have a first or upper second degree at undergraduate level in any discipline and demonstrate an interest in planning and a career in planning.