Applying to become a learning partner

Cat Shepherd talks about learning partner status with Andrew Blackwell from Bidwells.

RTPI learning partner status is recognised in the sector as a mark of excellence
RTPI learning partner status is recognised in the sector as a mark of excellence

Bidwells Planning is one of the largest town planning practices in the East of England, with more than 30 professional town planners and landscape architects. It is applying for RTPI learning partner status.

Andrew Blackwell, managing partner of the firm, says that it decided to apply for the accreditation as it is recognised within the sector as a mark of excellence in learning and development practices.

"The status would offer us an accredited standard against which we can measure ourselves to ensure that we are following best practice and supporting our planners to fulfil their potential, as well as underlining our commitment to the learning and development of our people," he says.

"Learning partner status would also allow us to demonstrate to the planning profession that we do things the right way and it is a kite mark that we believe will help in retaining and attracting employees."

He adds that the listing the firm will gain on the institute's website if it is awarded learning status will help it to raise its profile and reassure prospective clients about its commitment to professional excellence. "Increasingly, clients are looking to work with practices that they know both invest in and develop their employees to ensure that they receive the best possible advice. Learning partner status will provide this assurance," he says.

To apply for learning partner status, organisations must produce a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their commitment to best practice in professional development for their staff. Blackwell says this process has been straightforward. For further details about becoming a learning partner, visit or contact Cat Shepherd, lifelong learning officer at the RTPI, at or 020 7929 8174.

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