Young planners shadow Trafford Council's planning chief

Two young planners gained valuable on-the-job experience as part of a pioneering work scheme at Trafford Town Hall.

Rhiannon Moylan and Robin Jones shadowed Head of Planning and Development Rebecca Coley as part of a special initiative organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The pair were given an amazing insight into the strategic role of planning at the Council when they worked alongside Rebecca on Monday this week. They attended the Council’s Place Shaping Board, looked at the Planning Committee agenda and attended a meeting with Community Safety and GMP.

Robin, currently working at real estates firm CBRE, said:

I am very pleased to have taken part in this initiative. The day presented a unique opportunity to experience strategic decision-making at the highest level and understand how leaders balance the daily planning pressures facing local authorities.”

Rhiannon, at Glasgow City Council, said:

This proved to be an excellent opportunity to learn from Rebecca Coley at Trafford Council; to share knowledge and most importantly experience. I am an advocate for the importance of continued professional development and, thanks to this opportunity, was able to gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a chief planner and the impact of successful leadership."

Rebecca said:

It was a pleasure to welcome Robin and Rhiannon to Trafford. I hope they have learnt a great deal from the day and can take it back with them to become leaders in the profession.”

Trafford Council was one of 20 local planning authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland taking part in the scheme that aims to nurture future leadership talent in the planning profession.

The RTPI recently published the ‘Chief Planning Officers: The corporate and strategic influence of planning in local authorities’ report, highlighting planning’s importance as a strategic corporate function that helps councils tackle social, economic and environmental challenges.

Cllr James Wright, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Investment, Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said:

Trafford’s planning service is central to its place shaping agenda and we were delighted to be able to support the RTPI to offer this opportunity for young planners to understand how planning can be truly influential at the top table.

We hope that the experience inspired the young planners to pursue public sector careers and understand how rewarding they can be. It is also important to encourage female leadership within planning teams.”

Victoria Hills MRTPI, RTPI Chief Executive, said:

I am delighted that Trafford Council and many others have responded with such enthusiasm to our work to champion good leadership in public sector planning.

Amid the challenges of Brexit and tight resources, strong, experienced local planning leadership makes all the difference. Our members tell us that councillors are more likely to respect planning advice from a senior officer from a chief executive's team. We’re passionate about putting planning back at the top-table, and that’s why it is vitally important to inspire young planners with this ambition and precious career development opportunity.”

The scheme, the first of its kind, invited professional planners in the first 10 years of post-qualification experience and a current member of the RTPI to apply.

Posted on Wednesday 6th March 2019