Inspectorate invests in skills to help future of profession

The Planning Inspectorate is an RTPI learning partner for best practice in development, notes Jacqui Ward.

As an Investor in People and an RTPI learning partner, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) demonstrates that it recognises the central role played by skilled professionals in shaping the environment and delivering sustainable development.

PINS is committed to ensuring that its employees have the best access to training and development. It offers a range of opportunities such as RTPI conferences, internal training and frequent professional development reviews. In addition, it has taken action to increase diversity across its planning staff through a positive action programme.

The award-winning Tomorrow's Planners initiative aims to improve black and minority ethnic representation in the profession. Since 2002, it has recruited 83 trainee planners with more than 25 per cent securing permanent employment.

PINS is proud of its trainees' achievements. A former trainee and now a PINS planning officer, Alan Nettey was awarded the Walter Tull Partnership award for excellence and outstanding performance last year. He says: "The traineeship was a rewarding experience. It has led to a great job at PINS and a sound career in a dynamic profession."

Judith Montford, a PINS trainee, was commended as winner of the Trainee of the Year award at last year's PATH national awards, which promote greater diversity in the workforce through employment initiatives. She says: "I am gaining invaluable practical experience from working at PINS, as well as studying for a masters in planning. I have received support from other trainees and colleagues."

Having set up the scheme with one trainee, PINS is delighted to see it go from strength to strength. Learning and development manager David Harvey says: "The initiative has come a long way in supporting our goal to promote a sustainable and diverse workforce."

He adds: "Tomorrow's Planners is one important element in a range of learning partner commitments that the inspectorate supports. We believe that we can use the standard as a health check to strengthen our approach to professional development. We look forward to working with the RTPI to achieve this."

Jacqui Ward is RTPI education projects officer. For information on becoming an RTPI learning partner, please email For details about sponsoring a trainee on the Tomorrow's Planners programme, please email Tony Wilson at

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