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Transport planning apprentice wins ITS (UK)’s national essay competition

27 April 2022
Leora Wilson
Leora Wilson


Leora Wilson, a first-year transport planning technician apprentice, has won the ITS (UK) Essay Award for her entry on the use of intelligent transport systems to improve the environmental impact of transport.

The annual competition is organised by ITS (UK), an independent membership society of private and public sector transport technology-related organisations plus academia.

Wilson is the fourth Leeds College of Building student to win the coveted accolade over the last five years. She maintains the impressive track record achieved by transport planning technician apprentices at the college since the apprenticeship scheme launched in 2016.

Entrants wrote essays about the innovative application of ITS solutions to achieve de-carbonisation goals. Wilson, who studies at Leeds College of Building as part of her apprenticeship with Mott MacDonald, produced an essay entitled Changing Perceptions and Going Green with Intelligent Transport System Solutions.

To read the essay click here

The essay was rated top by the judges, who noted how her submission was well-referenced and contained a range of ideas. Wilson wrote about changing behaviour by gaining public support, using technology such as real time information and smart ticketing to make public transport more attractive to use, and the importance of ITS in the implementation of Low Emission and Clean Air Zones. She also analysed electric vehicles, micro-mobility, and incentivisation.

“Having been in the classroom at school this time last year to now doing my dream job, I am truly honoured to be the recipient of the 2021 ITS (UK) Apprentice Essay Award,” said Wilson. “Every day, technology is developing, making intelligent transport systems more and more important in achieving our modal shift goals and changing behaviours to go green. I look forward to being part of this journey and seeing how our decisions can shape a better future. Being autistic, I knew I never wanted to go to university as I am a really hands-on person and like to have a good structure in place. My apprenticeship provides me with just that. I want to give back to society and show how amazing apprenticeships are and help change the perception about apprenticeships being seen as a lesser option than going to university.”

Brian Duffy, faculty director at Leeds College of Building, said: “This, clearly, is a great achievement for Leora as a first-year student but also recognises the value of the team supporting and developing Leora's skills as she starts her career in the sector. Well done to everyone involved and congratulations to Leora on her superb essay.”

Michael Richardson, a transport planning technician apprentice at Tees Valley Combined Authority and fellow Leeds College of Building student, was runner up. His essay, A Message from the Future, discusses transport solutions as seen from someone in 2050.

Leora Wilson will receive her award from former transport minister Steven Norris, who is president of ITS (UK) later in the year.

Leeds College of Building was established in 1960 and is the only specialist general further education construction college in the UK. The college currently has around 5,500 students and offers a comprehensive range of more than 200 courses related to construction and the built environment. In total, the College trains nearly 2,800 apprentices across all areas of the college’s provision.

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