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Ifeanyi Chukwujekwu: Volunteering is a great way to grow your network

Ifeanyi Chukwujekwu is a chartered planner and is an Appeals Planning Officer at the Planning Inspectorate.

I volunteer with the RTPI as a Chartered Member on the General Assembly (GA). I am also a member of the International Committee and the RTPI’s representative on the General Assembly of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). I also volunteer with my local RTPI region in the North East of England as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) champion.

My time as a volunteer has been very rewarding. Not only do I get to debate and share my opinion on matters which are pertinent to the growth of the planning profession as a member of the GA, I also contribute my knowledge in discussions geared towards expanding the RTPI’s international outreach and influence on the International Committee.

With CAP, I contribute knowledge and expertise with the support of the RTPI towards projects and activities geared towards the development of planning knowledge and practice across the Commonwealth. That includes the support of planners in countries where no planning associations exist and the promotion of education and research.

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Ifeanyi travelled to Malaysia to attend the CAP Assembly and Malaysian Institute of Planning National Planning Congress.

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Ifeanyi delivering his conference presentation.

The exposure and networking opportunities have been enormous. Within a year of serving as a volunteer for CAP, I have travelled to Malaysia to attend the CAP Assembly and Malaysian Institute of Planning National Planning Congress. There I delivered a presentation with the theme of building city resilience and spoke of reimagining planning from a place-based approach, cohesive system approach and integrated, holistic and targeted land approach. I also stressed the importance of neighbourhood planning in facing the climate emergency, giving power to the people.

I have also met the past UN Habitat Secretary General and was privileged to attend the Commonwealth Day Celebration 2024 at Westminster Abbey, as well as the reception afterwards at Marlborough House where I met and spoke with dignitaries across the Commonwealth, including the Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland.

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Ifeanyi shared his experiences and career journey with students at Newcastle

Volunteering is a great way to grow your network and gain experience which might not be available via your normal job. I’d recommend that anyone interested should go for it. A good place to start would be your local RTPI region or nation and/or Planning Aid England. As North East EDI champion I have had the opportunity to engage with undergraduate students of Newcastle University planning school where I shared my experiences and career journey in order to encourage them in their chosen career.


The theme for the volunteering blogs this year is the impact of volunteers. We’re asking volunteers to share more detail of what they do and how the time they spend volunteering has an impact. So, if you’re considering whether to get involved as a volunteer, you know it will be time well spent. Look out for the next blog in June.

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