Initiative helps us to realise the potential of employees

Learning partner status highlights opportunities that benefit our profession as a whole, notes Jacqui Ward.

The ranks of RTPI learning partners have expanded over the summer with the addition of nine organisations. Launched at the start of the year, the initiative is a mark of excellence for employers who provide quality professional development opportunities.

It provides the RTPI with a means of directly engaging with planning employers, for the benefit of members and the profession as a whole. Through this effective partnership, they can help planners to develop their skills and competence throughout the course of their careers.

Learning partner status shows that your employer values your professionalism and is committed to investing in your development. By endorsing such employers, the RTPI aims to ensure that you have a clear idea of how your employer will support you as your career develops.

Seven large planning or mixed-discipline consultancies have begun to take advantage of their new status. Using the RTPI learning partner logo on training and recruitment material demonstrates their commitment to professional development. Having showcased its status at a careers fair, one consultancy noted: "It was a roaring success and the students picked up on it as a major benefit."

Seven local authorities, a market renewal pathfinder and both the Planning Inspectorate and the Northern Ireland Planning Service have demonstrated that training and development are at the core of their business. These organisations place value on professional membership, recognising the signal it sends to clients, stakeholders and the public about their employees' professionalism. For all of these organisations, competent and fulfilled employees stand at the heart of strategies to deliver effective public services.

Smaller specialist practices can prove their commitment to training and development, as Charisma Spatial Planning has demonstrated. With its emphasis on learning excellence for staff and students, London South Bank University has shown that planning employers in any sector can become learning partners.

Through working with our learning partners, we can share best practice to ensure that individuals and organisations are reaching their full potential. Over the coming months, RTPI News will feature some of the excellent initiatives being operated by learning partners. Could your organisation join them?

- Jacqui Ward is RTPI education projects officer.

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