Varied range of advice and help is available to members

Planners can be reassured by the continuing support that the RTPI is able to offer, reports Chris Sheridan.

By the end of this month we will have a better understanding of the scale of cuts to the public sector.

Some councils are hoping for the best but planning for the worst - an experience shared by the private sector during the recession.

Last week the local government employers tried to put a positive spin on the situation, stating that cuts will take councils back to the levels seen in 2006. It's ironic to think that during this period planning faced recruitment and retention issues.

For those facing an uncertain future, remember that the RTPI has been supporting members affected by the recession for the past two years.

The RTPI's recession support information is available from the website. We have also provided support locally. Workshops have been arranged by RTPI Cymru and throughout most of the RTPI's English regions.

These events included presentations on CVs and job interview techniques by recruitment agencies and details of the support available from the Planners in the Workplace service.

This week we launched the revised Starting in Private Practice guide. The RTPI has more than ten years' experience in supporting members who are considering consultancy, as well as those who run their own practice.

A small percentage of members are self-employed consultants, but the lack of opportunities in the job market has made this option increasingly attractive.

Members also have free access to an employment law helpline which provides independent advice to planners concerned about their employment situation.

We have responded to hundreds of enquiries from planners, shared experiences and discussed ideas and suggestions to help members get the most from their profession.

We know that graduates are particularly vulnerable to the downturn in the job market, and for some of them the lack of opportunity is disappointing and frustrating. However, many of them are unaware of the support that is provided by their university's career services and the RTPI.

Between January and June 2007 - at the height of continued strong economic growth - the RTPI gained 400 new licentiate members. In 2010, despite the recession and reductions in public spending, during the same period we gained 390 licentiate members, strong evidence that some are seizing the opportunities available.

Chris Sheridan is RTPI Planners in the Workplace manager. For further information, please visit www.rtpi.org.uk/member_services.


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