Skills for Young Planners

Cardiff University – School of Geography and Planning module ‘Digital Planning and Development’

In February 2023 a new module was announced for postgraduate students at Cardiff University in the latest developments in digital planning.

It may be that other Planning schools in the UK can learn from this new module and replicate equipping young planners across the country with digital skills in planning. These skills would be invaluable to workplaces and make young planners very employable, as the emphasis on digital planning will continue to develop in the years to come.

Dr Matthew Wargent, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Development and module leader, said: ‘We’re delighted to be launching our new Digital Planning and Development module tomorrow. Our students will explore how we might harness digital tools to better understand places and improve how we plan for them.

This hands-on course will prepare our students for the increasingly digitised and data-rich way in which urban spaces are experienced and organised. As well as learning the practical digital skills that are in high demand across the planning industry, our students will explore critical debates concerning the ethics and implications of digital planning, making them well placed to lead the planning system of the future.’

PAS virtual work placements

Over recent years a lot of work has been done among local authorities in Scotland in looking at ways to better engage young people in planning.

Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) have led in delivering a number of these exercises, using their expertise in this field. A recent example of this was in October 2022 when PAS worked with Fife Council to deliver a programme on engaging young people in planning.

In March 2023, PAS launched an opportunity for young people to undertake virtual work placements in planning. This included a helpful video explaining what planning is and why you might like to choose planning as a career: This might be something that could be used in engagement exercises with young people as a digital representation of what town planning is.

Fun Kids Live – Agent Plan-it

Aligned to this, are resources developed by the RTPI, in conjunction with ‘TV and Radio station Fun Kids’ Live. These resources are very interactive and engaging and could be used with young people of all ages. These resources are centred around becoming a Town Planning superhero and joining ‘Agent Plan-it’ to discover important issues affecting the environment and paces around you. The resources focus on how a town planner can help and include topics like:

  • ‘Why do we need town planners;
  • Building a new development – Geography;
  • Digital world – future spaces; and
  • Solving problems where you live.’

A YouTube Channel was also created on Becoming a Planner: The resources at Fun Kids Live including learning material and podcasts which are aimed at a range of age groups and interests.