A unique apprenticeship established in North East England to give young people a solid foundation for a career in the built environment has proven so successful it has expanded nationally and internationally.
The industry-driven PlanBEE programme developed by Ryder and Gateshead College to plug a skills and talent gap in the built environment sector is expanding to Vancouver, Canada and London.
The award winning higher apprenticeship was developed in 2016 to encourage young people to join and thrive in the industry. They learn multiple disciplines, working in a variety of roles including architecture, engineering, quantity surveying and construction – all with a strong emphasis on digital skills.
Alongside academic study, the apprentices are employed to learn on the job and rotate across employers including Bowmer + Kirkland, Sir Robert McAlpine, Cundall, – Mott MacDonald and Ryder.
Following its initial success in the North East, Manchester City Council joined forces with Ryder Architecture and Gateshead College in 2021 to launch PlanBEE in the city. Since then, the number of apprentices and businesses involved in the programme have increased by 122 percent and the first PlanBEE Manchester apprentices have recently graduated. All of them secured full-time roles with companies including Buro Happold, Eric Wright Construction, Purcell Architects, and Ramboll.
Building on the success of the programme, PlanBEE has now expanded to London, in partnership with the London School of Architecture (LSA) and supported by several London boroughs, with the first apprentices starting this September (2023).
In Vancouver, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) was introduced to PlanBEE by Ryder which has led to the creation of an adapted version of the programme with the new industry led apprenticeship and micro-credential for schools launching in July 2023.
Since 2016, there have been over 500 industry placements and 74 students have graduated, with 97% progressing to permanent jobs within the sector.
If you’re interested in finding out more about being involved in PlanBEE, visit www.gatesheadcollege.ac.uk/planbee