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Part 3: Planning - A career of choice

Written by: Simon Wicks
Published on: 21 May 2019

Planning has the tools to address many of the challenges facing young people and their communities, says Helen Hayes MP. It’s vital to make planning a career of choice for those who want to make a difference.

Part 3:

Careers survey: Inviting in, reaching out

Here's what The Planner's Careers Survey 2018/19 revealed about careers in planning, writes Simon Wicks, The Planner's deputy editor.

What can employers do to attract a more diverse range of young people to the profession?

77% - Offer more work experience placements

69% - Attend careers fairs at colleges and schools with high diversity of population

67% - Give talks in schools in areas with high diversity of population

46% - Create relationships with industry networks that cater to diverse populations

38% - Advertise jobs in a wider range of publications/jobs boards

28% - Alter recruitment processes to minimise unconscious bias

20% - Create aspirational diversity targets and measure progress against them

16% - Other

One respondent suggested: “Education from primary level through to sixth form/ university – this is where planning can begin to ensure and enable the profession to have a strong and capable workforce.”

Another said: “It’s not just employers, it’s the RTPI and universities. The RTPI apprenticeship scheme is one of the most important things that could be done to attract a more diverse range of planners. Planning is so exciting; it affects how and where we live/work/play (and so much more besides) and yet is seen as dull/boring and a block to progress. The RTPI needs young ambassadors.”

What is the RTPI doing?

Ambassadors: The RTPI ambassadors scheme offers RTPI members the chance to speak to school and university students about planning.

Apprenticeships: The RTPI oversees a level 3 diploma apprenticeship in town planning technical support and a level 7 degree apprenticeship is in development.

Bursaries: The RTPI Trust offers a £2,000 diversity bursary to BAME undergraduate planning students and those with disabilities. The Future Planners bursary is for postgraduate students who choose planning as a career.

In schools: The Agent Plan-It radio show is aimed at 8-13-year-olds; the Place Makers interactive role-play game is tied to the GCSE geography curriculum; and there are planning-based classroom resources for teachers.

Young Planners: Chief Planners of Tomorrow enables young planners to shadow a chief planner for a day.

Andrew Close, the RTPI’s head of careers, education and professional development, said: “The RTPI is passionate about the recruitment of planners from the widest pool. We've broadened routes to chartered membership and we're seeing a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in applications through non accredited routes. Plus,  more students are taking the next step towards chartered status and converting to Licentiate status."

Find out more about the RTPI's outreach programmes. 

Helen Hayes is a former town planner and has been the Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood since 2015. She sits on the Housing, Communities and Local Government select committee, and is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Planning. This article is written in a personal capacity.

Image credit | IKON