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Lindsey Richards: Where do we go from here?

2024 is going to be like no other year for me. The inauguration was a huge milestone and the first opportunity to set out my plans for 2024 and ‘ Planning our Future’.

Of course, in the relatively near future, we are preparing for a general election and no doubt planning and its role in building homes, communities, and economic growth will continue to be a key policy issue and dominate headlines; both positively and negatively. In launching the Planifesto last year, the RTPI is positioning itself to engage and raise the need to properly resource the profession.

And it’s the negativity that has to be immediately addressed. In the RTPIs campaign ‘It takes Planners &’ we talk about grabbing the narrative and highlighting the work that planners do and the value we add.

This isn’t just about our welfare and perhaps earning more empathy and understanding but about making connections between the job we do and our contribution to current issues such as climate change, environmental protection, and sustainable growth. Positively raising the profile of planning and making that connection should, I hope, raise planning as a career choice.

In my inauguration speech, I stressed the need to build a cohort of young planning professionals and a cohort that reflects the diverse communities that we live and work in. Increasing the number of our young professionals and making planning a career choice means increasing our presence in schools and universities, and making connections with other disciplines.

The pathways into planning are varied and this needs to be highlighted to ensure we reach a diverse entry

I hope I will be able to visit many of our planning schools this year. But of course, the pathways into planning are varied and this needs to be highlighted to ensure we reach a diverse entry, and we need to stress the opportunity provided by a planning apprenticeship.

5-11 February 2024 was Apprenticeship Week. This was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make on businesses and the wider economy. This year's theme was ‘ Skills for Life’ and we only have to look at some past apprentices to understand what a great foundation apprenticeships provide.

I leave you with a few past apprentices who have had some success! David Beckham, Gordon Ramsey, George Clark, Karen Brady.

I’m off till next time, honing my football and cookery skills.

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