The number of people signing up to achieve professional qualifications in transport planning is on the rise again following the recession, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has revealed.
Speaking at the Traffex exhibition this week, Sue Stevens director of education and membership at CIHT, promoted the importance of professional qualifications in core areas such as transport and engineering and wider Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
‘If you are serious about a career in this sector you should be serious about achieving professional qualifications,’ she said, adding that ‘the number of people signing up to training schemes is definitely increasing’.
Ms Stevens acknowledged that following the impact of austerity, workers had been slow to take up CIHT’s transport planning course, which was launched in 2008.
However new people coming into the sector were now eager to secure the qualifications that could help safeguard their job, she said.
She added that as a broad and wide-ranging professional body – taking in public, private and academic members - CIHT was well placed to adapt to the changes in local authority management and financing strategies that have resulted from austerity.
Many council officers have taken on wider, more flexible roles outside of traditional engineering but if ‘there is a link to highways or transport in any way they are welcome to join’, Ms Stevens said.
Addressing the issue of the widely lamented skills shortage in the sector, Ms Stevens said a more flexible approach was necessary.
‘Skills gaps can be of the same importance as skills shortages. If you have flexible staff you can react to the changing economy, whereas if you have skills gaps you can’t adapt and move people around.’