Introduction

As the professional body for the landscape sector, it is the Landscape Institute’s role to continually reflect the changing needs of landscape practitioners, helping them remain trusted, relevant and successful, today and in the future.

After a period of research starting in 2017 the LI has been working with our sector to develop a new framework that reflects current and emerging areas of landscape practice. This framework will be used to underpin the routes to membership. These professional membership grades offer a home for landscape practitioners across a wide range of fields of practice from landscape designers to parks managers and are the standards that enable the sector to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and guardians of the natural and built environment.

Alongside this we’ve been working to improve the routes to entry, reviewing the membership grades and support programmes for those looking to enter the industry. This has included the introduction of apprenticeships and routes that value experience in the industry as you work towards a professional membership.

“The new framework helps us ensure that we’re meeting the ever growing needs of the sector as we fight against the climate crisis whilst ensuring we maintain robust and rigorous standards of professionalism.”

Jane Findlay, FLI, President of the Landscape Institute and Director of Fira

Why are we doing this?

In addition to awarding professional recognition to landscape architects and professionals, the Landscape Institute recognises the need to:

  • Welcome more practitioners who work across the breadth of landscape fields.
  • Reflect new and emerging areas of practice.
  • Attract, include and support professionals from wider and more diverse backgrounds.

We’ve developed this new framework to reflect current and emerging areas of landscape practice. This is the first major update to our entry requirements in over a decade and it’s important that we build a robust and flexible framework that meets the needs of an ever changing and growing sector.

How we’ve been working

From the beginning it’s been incredibly important that this work is driven by those in the sector both members and non-members. To ensure this we’ve undertaken consultations, surveys, workshops, established steering groups and more. This has all informed the changes that we are making.

Contact us

Get involved with the next steps. Whether you have questions or want to support us in the next stages get in touch with the team at contact@landscapeinstitute.org with entry standards in the subject line.

Consultation Process

These changes follow on from a consultation process we ran in May. Learn more about what this involved.

Summary

As mentioned the competency framework forms part of the entry standards. The entry standards themselves define the routes to professional membership and the prerequisites, for each level of membership on the route. The competency framework is used as the basis for assessing the skill level of those applying for membership. Most importantly the new framework is flexible and adaptable so we want to work with you to raise standards and professionalism of the sector by regularly reviewing this and ensuring it is reflective of current practice .

It reflects the common skills that the landscape profession needs to deliver professional advice to others. We have chosen three categories to group the similarities and differences of landscape practice into a simple structure.

We have illustrated this in a pyramid to demonstrate the relationship between each section.

Grades

A Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) ) is a corporate grade of membership for those in the Landscape sector Architects that has who have met the high standard of skills and professionalisms for the industry. They are currently assessed against the Pathway to Chartership Syllabus. This will be replaced by the new competency framework. Individuals on this route will also be able to use the designations become either a Chartered Landscape Architect or a Chartered Landscape Professional.

A Technician Member of the Landscape Institute (TMLI) is the new corporate grade of membership that provides a professional home to a broader range of individuals in the sector. Entry to this level of membership is assessed in line with the new framework to maintain a high standard of skills and professionalism across industries. It can also be used as a milestone on the way to Chartered Membership.

Professional Competencies

These are the skills, behaviours and areas of knowledge that are considered essential amongst professionals across all sectors. These closely reflect skills many other professions also require of their members.

Core Landscape Competencies

These are the skills, behaviours and areas of knowledge that are unique to the landscape profession. (Referred to as ‘working with place and nature’ competencies.)

Additional Landscape Competencies

These are the specific skills, behaviours and areas of knowledge required for certain fields of practice across the landscape profession. Most members would only have a selection of these skills.

Next steps

The publication of the Competency Framework is the beginning of a gradual implementation of the framework for new member enrolments. This will be piloted during 2021, with results being reviewed before a wider roll out. This will become the basis for entry for all corporate membership grades and will replace our current LI elements and areas of practice document. You will begin to see the Competency framework underpinning all LI activity over the next few years. We have already adopted the Competency Framework as the basis for recording CPD activity in our recently launched LI CPD recording system and 2021 will bring adoption of the competencies as a way of categorising the level and topics available in our CPD events programme.

What does this mean for the LI?

The Landscape Institute Competency Framework has been designed to illustrate and categorise the main areas of the profession . It can be used to:

  • Set clear standards of entry for each level of membership
  • Serve as a professional development tool for members and help members to identify and record their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs and activities
  • Help define the content of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events that the LI and potential partners deliver
  • Support employers with recruitment and progression of their emerging talent
  • Be used for assessing expert groups in the landscape profession
  • Align landscape with other professional sectors

What does this mean for you?

You may have seen that we have begun to run apprenticeships in partnership with Trailblazer practices as an educational route to TMLI and in due course CMLI. This offers those looking at educational routes into the profession more options.

We understand that there are a diverse range of landscape professionals that are without a professional body. We’re keen to support these individuals and offer them a home that ensures that they have access to the qualifications and resources they need as they work through their career to demonstrate professional practice.

This new framework is allowing us to meet the needs of the profession and diversify the routes to entry. Let’s explore a few examples of what this could mean for you:

I'm a Chartered Member. Will I need to demonstrate competency against the Competency Framework?

There will be no requirement for existing Chartered Members to demonstrate these competencies or to take any assessment.  However, going forward, CPD events will be mapped to the Competency Framework and members will be asked to record CPD against the competencies as part of their annual CPD submission.

I'm currently on the Pathway to Chartership. How will the Competency Framework affect me?

Existing Pathway to Chartership candidates will have at least 2 years from after this new framework is adopted (after mid 2021) to complete examinations under our existing entry standards (at least until 2023) as we transition over time to a new system of entry based on this framework. Specific dates for closure of the current pathway will be communicated in due course and with significant notice. We will also be seeking some existing pathway candidates to assist in trialling any new membership entry requirements arising from this project.

I'm a tutor on an LI accredited degree? Will we need to map our courses to the Competency Framework?

The Competency Framework sets out competencies for membership of the LI. Accredited courses provide the core knowledge and understanding to be established prior to the commencement of achievement of these competencies. There will be no immediate requirement for accredited degrees to make any changes to their courses. The intention is that in spring 2021 we will undertake a review of the accreditation process in close consultation with SCHOLA and with all accredited schools and, in time, the competency framework will replace the Elements and Areas of Practice document and courses will need to demonstrate their relevance to the competencies in the same way as we currently ask for relevance to be demonstrated to the Elements and Areas of Practice. We will be discussing the timetable for these changes with SCHOLA and the accredited schools.

I'm a P2C examiner. How will the Competency Framework affect me?

Existing Pathway to Chartership candidates will have at least 2 years from after this new framework is adopted (after mid 2021) to complete examinations under our existing entry standards (at least until 2023) as we transition over time to a new system of entry based on this emerging framework. We will be seeking some existing pathway candidates and examiners to assist in trialling new membership entry requirements arising from this project. Please let us know if you would be interested in this. Training will, of course, be provided.

I'm a mentor on the P2C? How will the Competency Framework affect me?

If you are mentoring an existing Pathway to Chartership candidate they will have at least 2 years from after this new framework is adopted (after mid 2021) to complete examinations under our existing entry standards (at least until 2023) as we transition over time to a new system of entry based on this emerging framework. We will also be seeking some existing pathway candidates to assist in trialling new membership entry requirements arising from this project. If you are mentoring one of these candidates we will provide training and support prior to commencement.

I am currently studying on a Landscape Institute accredited degree. How will the competency framework affect me?

It is likely that you will take the new competency-based Pathway to Chartership either as part of the pilot in 2021 or following the full roll out.  This will mean that you will be expected to progressively demonstrate the relevant competencies both before going forward to assessment and at the assessment itself.  The Competency Framework will replace the Pathway to Chartership syllabus.

I'm the head of a registered practice, how can I use the new framework?

As a registered practice we know you’re focused on supporting your staff. The new framework and entry standards will allow you to strengthen and broaden this support to  staff members that have been seeking a home within a professional body. Those that are looking for more focused CPD support and better connections with their profession will also be able to utilise these tools 

The new entry standards can provide a path for some staff members towards a professional qualification and if this isn’t for them, the framework can support and guide them in their wider professional development to better align with the standards of the industry and their colleagues. 

The framework will be used to underpin CPD events and will be incorporated into online CPD recording.

We are a registered practice of landscape architects and require all our professional staff to work towards or to be Chartered Landscape Architects. However, we are unable to give experience in all of the Additional Landscape Competencies. How will our graduates be able to progress through the new competency-based assessment?

All applicants for Chartered Membership must achieve:
8 Core and/or Additional Landscape Competencies to Level B and:
7 Core and/or Additional Landscape Competencies to Level C and:
Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience to Level B
The total number of competencies achieved must be 16 and choices must include all the Core Landscape Competencies. There are 11 Core Landscape Competencies and, therefore, your graduates will only need to choose 5 Additional Landscape Competencies. The framework has been designed to provide candidates with a breath of choice around competencies. However, please refer to our membership pyramids and additional requirements regarding these choices.

I am an experienced landscape professional but have not yet started the process of becoming a Chartered Member of the LI. Will there be a route for experienced practitioners?

Yes, we will be introducing an experienced route for those with relevant degrees and 10 years or more experience. Please watch this space for further details.

I'm an experienced landscape technician. Will there be a route for experienced technicians?

Yes, we will be introducing an experienced route for those with either 8 years or more experience or a relevant, Level 3 or higher, qualification and at least 4 years experience. Please watch this space for further details.

Will there be a route from Technician membership to Chartered membership?

Probably the most typical route will be for Technician members to take an LI accredited degree and the Pathway to Chartership but we are also planning a route to Chartered membership for technicians with at least 8 years relevant as a Technician member and who have undertaken at least 400 hours of targeted learning focused on the competencies for Chartered membership. Further detail will be developed and shared over the coming months.

“Coming from a parks and green space management background, I’ve often felt there was no obvious “professional home” for parks people, no where to obtain quality training and skills that would be recognised nationally and that we were not part of the wider landscape sector. Joining the LI has meant not only do I now have a professional home, I’ve been able to work to open up the routes to entry, to help create a diverse and supportive community of landscape professionals in the broadest sense.”

Sue Ireland, FLI, Consultant, past Director of Open Spaces, City of London and member of the LI’s Entry Standards Steering Group.

Full Entry Standards and Competency Framework

Review the full details of the competency framework and see how it fits together.