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Pathways to Planning: information for councils

Pathways to Planning aims to widen the pool of graduates entering planning roles in local authorities. The scheme is an exciting opportunity for councils and graduates alike, offering a talent pipeline and excellent value for money.

Pathways to Planning offers councils a new and creative way to diversify their planning teams’ talent pipeline. It is intended to build capacity within councils by bringing more graduates into planning teams now and fast-tracking their careers to fill gaps at every level in the future.  

The programme launched in September 2023 and will see its first cohort of graduates start work in spring 2024.  

Pathways to Planning offers councils:  

  • marketing and recruitment of a diverse pool of candidates at no cost;
  • a community of support for your graduate(s) and your team;
  • a bursary to enable your graduate’s Master’s degree study.

Councils can select from either of the following bursary options:

  • A bursary of £5,000 to support graduates undertaking the Chartered Town Planner (Level 7 apprenticeship) qualification. Councils can use the bursary to cover the cost of graduates’ travel to campus, fund field trips and other L&D, or cover the cost of back-filling your graduate’s role on their study days.
  • A bursary of £10,000 to fund graduates’ course fees on RTPI-accredited Master’s degrees. 

Councils in England are now encouraged to apply for the programme’s second cohort, which will recruit up to 120 graduates to start work in autumn 2024. Please read our guidance document to discover how the programme could work for your council before you complete the application form.  

You can sign up to the next cohort via the link below. We anticipate finalising the appointment of our Cohort 2 councils in spring 2024. Once you have signed up to the scheme, your council will be listed on our candidate-facing website, raising your profile amongst applicants. We encourage you to sign up as soon as you are able to secure your place.  

For more information please read the frequently asked questions below, or contact the Pathways to Planning team at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

Council Communications Toolkit

If you are a council participating in Cohort 2 or Pathways to Planning, we have a comms toolkit which you may find useful. It contains templates and guidance for councils to help promote the Pathways to Planning programme on their channels.

Download toolkit

Information for applicants 

If you are a graduate and are interested in applying for the programme, visit the dedicated website for applicants at