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Transport Planning Professional
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The Transport Planning Professional qualification recognises competent transport planners with broad-based technical and managerial skills.
Below are profiles of some of the CIHT members who are TPP-qualified, which show that the qualification is suitable for transport planners with different educational backgrounds, working in the public and private sector, with a range of experience that covers the TPP competence requirements.
WSP Associate Director and TPP qualified transport planner Craig Drennan has been a member of CIHT since 1993 and says he welcomed the opportunity to gain professional recognition for his work. Craig graduated with a degree in Geography then decided to specialise in transportation. He studied for an MSc in Transport before building his career with Parkman, Dorset County Council and latterly WSP. But despite his studious approach and experience, Craig was unable to gain a relevant professional qualification.
“To become professionally qualified with CEng I would probably have to ‘top up’ my existing qualifications with something less relevant to my career; a course such as structural design, for example, as my experience is not engineering based,” he says. “The new TPP qualification offers an alternative for many others like myself who are involved in all the various aspects of transport planning.”
WSP is committed to the professional development of its employees to expand and develop the business and have recently instigated a professional development bonus scheme. This is designed to encourage and immediately reward the effort and commitment of employees in achieving professional status e.g. TPP, within their chosen institution and technical career.
Capita Symonds’ Senior Transportation Engineer Katherine Agong was the first person in Wales to gain the TPP qualification. Since then, Katherine has given TPP presentations to encourage other Capita Symonds staff to follow in her footsteps. She was one of the main speakers at the South West Regional Launch of the Transport Planning Professional Qualification in November 2008 and she has been a contributor to the staff development programme which is currently being created for Capita Symonds’ transport planning staff.
Katherine began her career with Bristol City Council as an Assistant Traffic Signals Engineer after graduating from the University of the West Indies with a BSc in Geography & Geology. She joined Capita Symonds in 2004 and in 2007 gained an MSc in Transport Planning & Engineering from Napier University. Katherine now produces and audits transport assessments and carries out transport modelling and traffic signal design using her experience gained with Bristol City Council. She is currently writing Transport Assessment Guidelines for Proposed Developments in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government and developing a study into the “hidden” barriers to commuting by walking and cycling.
“I have always been interested in the effects of the relationship between transport and development,” Katherine says. “The transport and development relationship is often not a good one so, as a natural problem-solver, I enjoy investigating, developing and implementing measures to solve transport problems in order to ensure that developments are easily accessible by various modes of transport”.
Former CIHT President Mike Slinn, a director of MVA Consultancy, became TPP accredited last year via the Senior Route, joining a growing band of experienced professionals who help to promote the qualification. Mike Slinn said: “I want to encourage young members of our profession to prepare and apply for the qualification, provide mentoring to those who need it and act as a Professional Reviewer. I felt that establishing a qualification for transport planners was very important. I was very pleased that during my time as CIHT President, we were able to launch the TPP qualification.”
Mike found the process of gaining TPP accreditation through the ‘senior route’ – available to directors and project managers with many years of industry experience – very straightforward. He added: “I believe that all senior professionals in the sector should consider obtaining the qualification and, in doing so, show leadership to younger colleagues. It is by achieving a steady increase in the number who achieve the TPP qualification that we will be able to raise standards and attract a high quality of new graduates into our profession.”
Nicola Debnam’s career took a change in direction, from civil engineering to transport planning. So, for Nicola, pursuing Chartered Engineer status became less appropriate, but the TPP gave her a new opportunity. Nicola is a Programme Manager at Argyll & Bute Council in the west of Scotland, involved in implementing a £30M regeneration programme in the area. She says her current role is “wide and varied”, from involvement in town centre traffic management to refurbishment of iconic local buildings.
Nicola began her career on a training programme with Strathclyde Regional Council, studying for a HNC in Civil Engineering. She held technician roles with Strathclyde, Argyll & Bute and Stirling Councils before moving into the private sector with Balfour Beatty Construction.
In 2001 Nicola returned to Argyll & Bute and made the switch to transport planning. She completed an MSc in Transport Planning & Engineering in 2007. “I also became a member of CIHT in 2007 and the TPP qualification really appealed to me,” she says. “It is a positive move to offer a specific qualification like this and I hope it will quickly become an industry standard.”
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