Young planner gets a taste for life at the top

A young planner got a taste for life at the top when she joined Dudley Council’s chief planner for the day.

As part of the Chief Planners of Tomorrow scheme, Jennifer Joule spent the day with Helen Martin, the council’s chief officer for regeneration and enterprise. The scheme, set up by the Royal Town Planning Institute, offers a young planners valuable insight into what it is like to be a chief planning officer.

Jennifer, aged 27 and a planner in the private sector, experienced first-hand how strategic decisions are made along with the challenges and opportunities a senior position brings.

During the day she saw how the authority manages its day-to-day planning system, how complex issues are resolved and the importance of working with other internal departments, elected members, strategic partners and neighbouring authorities. Jennifer, said:

"This has been a great opportunity to experience the role of a chief planning officer and the breadth of work it encompasses. I was really interested in how planning interacts with other council departments and how partners work together.

"One day I hope to lead a planning team so to shadow Helen for the day has been a fantastic experience.”

Dudley Council is one of 20 local planning authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are taking part in the scheme, which aims to nurture future leadership talent in the planning profession. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and economic investment, said: 

"We were delighted to take part in the scheme and offer Jennifer the opportunity to shadow Helen for the day. We hope it has given her an insight into a senior role in this important career, an understanding of how strategic decisions are made and the importance of working with partners to bring about positive changes to our borough.”

The Chief Planners of Tomorrow scheme is open to professional planners in the first 10 years of post-qualification experience and a current member of the RTPI.


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