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RTPI to help tackle recruitment problems in East of England

Words: Laura Edgar

The RTPI and other stakeholders have joined forces to help tackle problems around the recruitment and retention of planners in the East of England.

According to a review (pdf), led by the East of England and National Local Government Association, sponsored by St Albans City and District Council, the region is significantly lacking the planning capacity and skills to deliver growth and development.

The review surveyed councils across the region and also comprised interviews and workshops for stakeholders, including the RTPI, universities and further education colleges.

The key issues noted include a lack of capacity; at the time of the survey, there were 114 vacancies for planners across the region, according to the review. It also listed high turnover and retention issues, caused by limited career progression and training opportunities as well as competition on salaries from London and the private sector and an ageing workforce and lack of experienced senior planners. Additionally, the review states there is a lack of flexibility in the local government recruitment processes.

Andrew Close, head of careers, education and professional development, RTPI, said: “This review echoes the critical local planning capacity issue that our own research has found in the North West and Scotland. Graduate planner numbers have been increasing over the past few years, but generally there is some evidence of a skills and capacity squeeze at middle and senior management level as a result of cuts and recruitment freezes.

“The institute has been on the front foot in developing new pathways into the profession and is committed to working with government, local authorities, the private sector and education sector to explore other access routes - for example, degree apprenticeships.”

RTPI initiatives aimed at developing new ways into the profession include:

  • RTPI Technician Apprenticeship scheme

  • RTPI Future Planners bursary

  • RTPI distance learning course

  • RTPI Future Planners

  • Fast track graduate employment schemes

  • Associate membership of the RTPI

Further to this, the RTPI is currently consulting on its policy for planning education.

The consultation, which can be found here (pdf), will end on Monday 3 October at 10am. 

Image credit | iStock