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Apprenticeships at the Planning Inspectorate

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Equality Diversity and Inclusion, People, Public service, Recruitment

This week is the 15th annual National Apprenticeship Week, a celebration of the exceptional work being done by employers and apprentices across the country, highlighting the positive differences that apprenticeships can make to individuals, employers and to the wider economy.

The Planning Inspectorate Apprenticeship Programme

The basic principles of the Planning Inspectorate’s approach to apprenticeships are:

  • Recruitment: To develop our early pipeline of talent, increase the diversity of the Inspectorate, develop key skills sets and increase numbers of apprenticeships
  • Personal Development: We will continue to offer apprenticeships to internal employees who are eligible for the schemes as a development opportunity
  • Experience: ensuring apprentices are motivated to complete their apprenticeships and have a well-supported and positive experience​

To ensure a successful apprenticeship experience the approach also highlights the requirements of the apprentice, the role of the line manager and the responsibility of the training provider and how we can measure this success.

Chartered Town Planners Apprenticeship

This week also celebrates the first anniversary of our initial intake of Chartered Town Planners Apprentices.

Ken Taylor is a Planning Inspector and the Chartered Town Planner Apprentice Manager.

My weeks are filled with reading recommendations; having 1:1 meetings/case reviews with each apprentice (chatting before and after site visits); team meetings; and doing a bit of outreach to talk about the apprenticeship.

I’m ever grateful for those who helped me in the early part of my career; that’s why I feel privileged to have this job. I think we have met great people who will go on to make the planning profession better.

Apprentice Sarah said:

Over the year I have gained insight into the art of planning, and how, even if one case seems similar to another at first glance, context can mean the decision could be different!

It has been interesting to see how policy is interpreted in decision-making having previously only worked in preparing local plan policy.

I have really enjoyed venturing around the south-west of the UK and places I haven’t visited before, as well as meeting the other Appeal Planning Officers on a London work trip. I have especially appreciated having some variety in my work and dealing with different planning considerations.

Max said:

Some of the most interesting things I’ve looked at have been small developments in conservation areas, such as changes to windows, gates and driveways. I’ve enjoyed having to focus on the specific details of the properties and understanding how these impact upon the character of the area.

Maddie said:

Being able to work in a small group has allowed me to learn from others and receive a lot of support from Ken, which has helped me to build my confidence and skills when writing appeal recommendations.

My HR apprenticeship

Recruitment Support Officer Elizabeth details her apprenticeship experience with the Planning Inspectorate.

Since graduating in English and History from the University of Southampton, I have worked in law, administration and internationally as an English Teacher and au-pair in Thailand and Australia respectively.

I chose the apprenticeship route because I wanted to gain further qualifications while earning an income. The apprenticeship scheme offered by the Planning Inspectorate appeared beneficial for the opportunity to gain exposure to different HR functions through shadowing colleagues.

I have recently achieved my HR Support Level 3 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification through my apprenticeship at the Planning Inspectorate. The apprenticeship is 16 months long, however the CIPD qualification can be achieved within 12 months. I have one day per week (20% of my contracted working hours) dedicated towards my study. I have used this time to complete module reading, arrange meetings with my academic tutor and work on assessment material where required.

The apprenticeship has helped achieve my goal of pursuing a career in HR; since gaining my CIPD qualification, I have obtained a promotion to an executive officer position with the recruitment team. The scheme allowed me to gain the core skills necessary to perform in this role – gaining this experience would not have been possible through academic study alone.

I would recommend an apprenticeship at the Planning Inspectorate for several reasons. Firstly, the work-life balance is very good with every effort being made to promote employees’ wellbeing. The structure of my apprenticeship has also been well-considered. My line manager has allocated me work gradually to align with my apprenticeship goals. I have not felt overloaded but instead introduced to new tasks in a steady, progressive manner. This has contributed to an overall positive apprenticeship experience.

Want to find out more?

The Planning Inspectorate is an employer with a supportive culture. If you would like to find more about apprenticeship opportunities at the Planning Inspectorate please contact Duncan Phillpotts, Recruitment Officer – Apprenticeships and Outreach at

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