Groundbreaking new apprenticeship program promotes systems science principles in practice

Building on a 2017 initiative by Ray Ison, BCSSS board member, IFSR president and professor at the Open University UK, in convening a meeting of employers from which emerged an employer-led Trailblazer Committee, the UK the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education has recently approved a new Master’s level apprenticeship called the ‚Systems Thinking Practitioner‘ (STP) in 2020. The institute empowers employers to create their own high quality apprenticeships. The first two assessment rounds for the new STP course have been completed with just one more step to go for complete approval and release of the course. The standard of the apprenticeship was created in collaboration of several high ranking governmental and important private sector corporations, for example the OECD, the British Ministry of Defence, the Wiltshire Council, the Royal United Hospital of Bath, the British Telecom and more.

The apprenticeship would usually take about 30 months to complete and will enable graduates to lead cross-sector collaborative projects and to support them as decision-makers in strategic and leadership roles as they encounter complex and wicked problems. They will gain competencies in systemic analysis, advice and facilitation. The skills developed in this educational program may be applied to a broad range of topics and in diverse sectors, e.g. for the provision of integrated health care services, to reduce plastic use in industry or to develop sustainable food production systems. The apprenticeship is designed to create a number of new occupations that are defined as Systems Thinking Practitioner, System Change Lead, Systemic Designer or Transformation Lead. Since currently systems science specific occupations are largely unheard of, this is a critical and encouraging advance for the systems sciences towards more practical application, recognition as well as impact on societal development.

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