Survey highlights shortage of minerals and waste planners

More than four-fifths of minerals and waste planners believe there is a growing shortage of skilled and experienced professionals in their sector, according to newly-published research.

Minerals and waste: concern over skills gap
Minerals and waste: concern over skills gap

A Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) survey of 263 minerals and waste plannners working in both local authorities and the private sector found 82 per cent of respondents voicing fears over the pool of suitably qualified staff capable of handing their roles.

While the planners expressed a belief that their skills were transferable from other areas of planning and the built environment, they said more needed to be done to attract graduates and school leavers to the sector at an earlier stage of their professional development.

The RTPI has pledged to raise the issue of increased learning opportunities with university planning schools in the wake of the survey, which was conducted in September last year.

RTPI head of education and careers, Andrew Close, said the survey findings would allow the institute to lobby for the education and resourcing required.

"As the UK moves into another phase of intensified building construction the demand on mineral and waste planning will also grow," he said.

"This is a timely survey that will help us and the sector to raise awareness of the issues around succession and capacity and take appropriate actions."

Close added that the RTPI had launched a Town Planning Apprenticeship scheme to attract school leavers and others to the profession.

Despite the staff shortages, 78 per cent of survey respondents said they liked their job, or that they "would not do anything else".

However, 71 per cent said they had "fallen into" into their minerals and waste role, underscoring the challenges for planned career development.

Almost three quarters of survey respondents worked at local authorities. Around 13 per cent described themselves as consultants, while 8 per cent said they worked in the private sector.

The full survey results can be read here.

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