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Transport planner wins CIHT apprentice award

Leeds Building College student is working in projects such as EV charging point delivery

Mark Moran
17 December 2021
Planning technician apprentice Michael Richardson with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen


A Leeds College of Building apprentice is celebrating after winning a national transport planning award. Michael Richardson, 20, won the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) Apprentice of the Year Award 2021.

The CIHT is a chartered professional body for those working in highways and transportation. The Apprentice of the Year Award celebrates the achievements of apprentices who work in the highways and transportation sector and the organisations that put them at the heart of their business.

Richardson is a Level 3 transport planning technician apprentice at Tees Valley Combined Authority. Alongside studying at Leeds College of Building, he plays an essential role in delivering transport improvements in the Tees Valley region after taking up his post in September 2020.

His work involves all modes of transport across the Tees Valley, such as helping deliver electric vehicle charging points, looking at railway station enhancements, taking forward cycling and walking projects, exploring how digital schemes can improve transport, and on-demand bus service Tees Flex.

Michael Richardson said: “I entered the award after seeing it advertised on the CIHT website. It required me to write about the work I had done over the last year and my hopes for the future. I was then interviewed and was required to give a presentation to a panel on ‘What highways and transport professionals should be thinking about now to address the climate emergency.”

“I was not expecting to win, and it felt great to have my work recognised in the form of a national award! I’d like to thank Tees Valley Combined Authority for giving me the experience and responsibility which allowed me to win, and to everyone involved on the course at Leeds College of Building for teaching me the skills that I needed. This award will go a long way towards progressing my career as a transport planner.”

The announcement was made at the virtual CIHT Young Professionals Conference 2021. The presentation of his national award came just weeks after Richardson picked up the CIHT North East & Cumbria Regional Apprentice of the Year award.

CIHT President Deborah Sims said: “Our industry can only ever be as good as the people in it, and we are fortunate enough to have some great individuals coming through. We had a great selection of people who put themselves forward for this award and I know our judging panel had a very tough task in coming to a decision. I would like to thank all of those who entered, their supporters and especially those who were shortlisted.”

“Michael is a worthy winner of this award as he impressed the judges with his passion, enthusiasm and his knowledge of our sector. We look forward to working more closely with Michael and his shortlisted colleagues as they help to shape the future of CIHT and the wider industry.”

Derek Whitehead, principal of Leeds College of Building, said: “This is excellent news, it’s such a terrific outcome. Well done to Michael and the whole Transport Planning team at the College. Our expert staff have huge knowledge and experience in their field, and we are all so proud of Michael’s success.”

Leeds College of Building was established in 1960 and is the only specialist 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 2,600 apprentices across all areas of the college’s provision. Over 600 employers from across the UK work with Leeds College of Building.

Dr Paul E Firmin, lecturer in transport planning at Leeds College of Building, said: “Michael is one of our best students at Leeds College of Building, always shows willing, and is keen to enhance the early stages of his career. It's a pleasure to teach people like that. Congratulations also go to the college transport planning team for their support, effort, and encouragement of students. During my long career, I have never known a course produce so many ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award winners.”

CIHT Apprentice of the Year 2021 Shortlist

  • Jack Barnes, highways maintenance operative, Northamptonshire Highways
  • Conor Hounsell, civil engineering apprentice, Morgan Sindall
  • Michael Richardson, transport planning technician apprentice, Tees Valley Combined Authority (WINNER)
  • Rachel Ryan, undergraduate civil engineer, WSP
  • Meg Scott, graduate apprentice, AECOM

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