UWE Bristol Apprenticeships: Meet the Academic

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In this Meet the Academic, we caught up with Nick Smith, Associate Head of Department, Geography and Environmental Management to talk about his experiences of apprenticeships.

Nick teaches on our Town Planning Degree Apprenticeship:

Thinking about your engagement with apprentices, what are the main benefits you can see for someone thinking about becoming a Higher or Degree apprentice?

Pursuing an apprenticeship provides a great opportunity for combining work and study together. Apprentices follow a programme of study that responds to the expectations for becoming professional planners, with the individual components of the programme collectively delivering the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers are looking for.

Our town planning apprenticeship has been structured to offer flexibility to our learners, with two specific entry points providing an opportunity for past experience and qualifications to be properly recognised

What role do you think Higher and Degree apprenticeships have towards widening access and participation within Higher Education, and the benefits for the local economy?

There is a national shortage of planners at the moment and the need for planners has never been greater with planning being expected to respond, and deliver, against wide ranging contemporary challenges. The biggest of these is obviously the climate emergency.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is keen to increase the supply of planners but also to increase the appeal of the profession to the widest population possible.

The RTPI has a clear strategy for diversifying its membership and the apprenticeship scheme offers a real opportunity for delivering this. Already we have seen apprentices step forward and join the programme who might not have been able to do so if they were having to pay themselves.

What do you see as the role of apprenticeships in UWE Bristol and beyond in the future?

I hope that apprenticeship provision can continue to grow as it provides multiple benefits to both apprentices and our existing body of students. Having apprentices in-class alongside other learners provides a real opportunity for delivering the university’s ambitions for practice based learning.

It also provides some effective avenues for staff to become better engaged with practice and to hear about experiences from the front line.

Find out more about Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol.

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