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Work-shadowing scheme gives Young Planners taste of life at the top table

13 February 2020

This year’s edition of the RTPI’s work-shadowing initiative has kicked off with two Young Planners gaining a valuable insight into the life of a chief planning officer.

The Chief Planners of Tomorrow scheme gives planners in the first 10 years of post-qualification experience the opportunity to spend a day with a chief planning officer to understand the challenges and processes involved in making strategic decisions at senior level in local government and the private sector.

On Monday, Alex Johnson, Senior Planning Officer at Enfield Council, spent the day with Peter Geraghty and the planning team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

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Above: Alex Johnson (centre) with Peter Geraghty and Cllr Carole Mulroney, Cabinet Member for Environment & Planning, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Alex Johnson said: “I would like to thank the team at Southend-on-Sea who provided me with an interesting and insightful day while making me feel so welcome. The ability to see the typical day-to-day role of a chief planner and to compare and contrast this with my own work was a valuable experience I will look to build upon in my own career. It was particularly insightful to understand how a chief officer mediates and liaises with other teams internally on large projects.”

Peter Geraghty, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s director for planning and transport, said: “Planning remains a fundamental public service and Chief Planners of Tomorrow is a great initiative to help develop leaders of the profession, and to provide experience to a group of young professionals who are key to the future of planning in local authorities. I am delighted to support this initiative and that Southend was chosen to host a visit.”

On Tuesday, Rachel Blanchard, Assistant Planning Officer at Dudley Borough Council, visited the Manchester office of Turley where she spent time with Chief Executive Dave Trimingham.

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Above: Young Planner Rachel Blanchard with Turley Chief Executive Dave Trimingham

Rachel Blanchard said: “As a local authority employee, the Chief Planners of Tomorrow scheme allowed me to experience planning in the private sector. I got a chance to see how large projects are run, giving me a greater insight into the viability of schemes. Working with Dave, I also attended HR and Business Development meetings which allowed me to understand the diverse role of a Chief Executive. I would highly recommend this scheme to anyone, like me, just starting their career or just looking to see a different side to planning.”

Turley Chief Executive Dave Trimingham said: “We’re committed to nurturing talent and creating pathways for success and so we were thrilled to be asked to participate in Chief Planners of Tomorrow. It’s a great initiative which gives the next generation of planning leaders the opportunity to see what life is like in a senior position, and understand how high-level decisions are made.”

A record 54 Young Planners will take part in the scheme over the next few months, gaining an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of life at the top table and seeing how strategic decisions are made. In total, 26 local authorities will be taking part along with six RTPI Learning Partners and the Planning Inspectorate.