During this time of unprecedented opportunity for the landscape sector, the Landscape Institute (LI) is saddened and disappointed to hear that due to financial pressures, one of its university accredited partners has had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from offering its postgraduate Landscape Architecture MA as well as the MLA conversion programme also in Landscape Architecture.  Writtle University College has been an LI accredited partner for a number of years and is supporting its current students on these programmes to complete their studies supported by the LI.  This decision comes at a time when landscape architecture is currently on the shortage occupation list and the LI’s industry-wide assessment of the skills and workforce issues in Skills for Greener Places show that this decision will only exacerbate the issues.  Skills for Greener Places highlighted: 

  • Over 50% of businesses in this sector have a hard-to-fill vacancy, and businesses are having to turn down contracts to make places greener. 
  • Market demand for landscape skills is extremely high – particularly driven by biodiversity and nature recovery. 
  • Skills gaps exist across all parts of the UK but are particularly acute in the public sector and outside of the large cities – which will be exacerbating regional inequalities, particularly around well-designed places. 
  • The workforce is older and whiter than the UK average. An aging workforce will make skills shortages worse in the medium term. 
  • The landscape sector is worth around £24.6bn to the economy in Gross Value-Added terms alone and is growing almost twice as fast than the wider economy average (18% compared to 10% since 2010). 

The Landscape Institute’s Chief Executive, Sue Morgan said, “This is such sad news for our sector and landscape industry. Our sector survey has clearly shown the demand and value of our skills in placemaking and addressing the biodiversity and climate change emergencies. We need more trained professionals to emerge to help the private and public sectors alike in addressing these issues. To see yet another educational establishment drop essential courses is hard to understand.” 

However, the Landscape Institute continues to push forward its work in education and careers by seeking to extend its careers outreach activity in efforts to engage with a much wider range of people to further increase the pipeline for landscape architecture.  It has also developed the Level 7 Chartered Landscape Professional Apprenticeship, fully approved for delivery by Government, and which provides a significant opportunity for universities to recruit a much wider range of students from more diverse backgrounds and to access new funding via Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Levy funds.   

The ground-breaking apprenticeship for landscape architecture has the flexibility to fit into existing masters programmes (subject to a mapping exercise) and be converted into the apprenticeship or it can be delivered without the need to deliver a full masters programme.  If opting for the former this could mean the apprenticeship could be delivered without the need to develop new courses and could provide the off the job learning and prepare the Apprentice for their End Point Assessment.  Apprentices and masters students would be able to study together bringing economies of both space and staff resource and would be a familiar model for employers.  The LI have early adopter employers and is able to reach out to our 500+ Registered Practices and other key employers to support its delivery. 

If you’re a university or training provider interested in exploring accreditation to deliver the L7 Apprenticeship or accreditation of its higher education programmes in Landscape Architecture, then please email education@landscapeinstitute.org for more information. 

For media enquiries, please email pressoffice@landscapeinstitute.org. 

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