A new initiative designed to attract young people to become skilled para planners has been established by the South Australian Government to help address skill shortages in the built environment professions.
The Para Planner Cadet Program, which is being led by the Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS) in the Department for Trade and Investment, is a collaborative effort between the Department for Education, TAFE SA and the Planning Institute of Australia – SA.
PLUS is encouraging South Australian Councils to offer the cadetship placements, which provide organisations opportunities to support young people, whilst addressing the current skills shortage in urban and regional planners.
Starting in 2024, the program will run for 2.5 years, concluding in June 2027, Planning Minister, Nick Champion confirmed in a statement today.
“Urban and regional planners play an important role in actively shaping our state to help create liveable and sustainable communities,” said Mr Champion.
“The Para Planner Cadet program provides a significant opportunity for agencies, councils and consulting firms to increase their resources and improve their services at a time when the industry is crying out for more planners.”
Local Government Association (SA) President, Mayor Dean Johnson said planning shortages were an ongoing challenge for councils, both metro and regional.
“We’re pleased to see the State Government taking proactive steps to address this skills gap,” he said.
“Our state is experiencing rapid residential growth, with increased demand for new housing placing greater strain on councils when processing development applications and other associated workloads.
“To ensure sustainable, desirable development in our communities our councils need to be properly staffed and resourced, and the Para Planner Cadet Program will provide a much-needed pathway for more qualified local planners to enter the workforce.
“The best planning outcomes are achieved when councils are part of the conversation, and this initiative is another example of local and state government working together to tackle the housing availability and affordability issues we’re currently seeing across South Australia,” he said.
Minister Champion said the “hands-on, practical initiative” had been designed to relieve the current pressures on planning teams and provide a path for participating employers to support young talent.
“Addressing the shortage in planners will help South Australia tackle critical challenges such as housing affordability, population growth, and the transition to a more sustainable future.”
“The Para Planner Cadet program is an opportunity for school leavers and young people to consider a rewarding career which puts you at the fore of building and planning South Australia for the future.
“Cadets will gain valuable work experience while undertaking a Diploma in Local Government (Planning) through TAFE SA.”
The Para Planner Cadet program is open to all people under 21, including high school leavers regardless of ATAR results and offers a hands-on, practical approach to workforce development.
PLUS is encouraging the private sector and SA Councils to offer the cadetship placements, which provide organisations opportunities to support young people, whilst addressing the current skills shortage in urban and regional planners.
A para planner plays a crucial role in supporting qualified planners by contributing to professional projects, participating in on-the-job training, answering customer queries, and undertaking assessments as part of development application processes.
The program launches as the final deadline for preference changes for undergraduate enrolments in Semester One of 2024 passes providing an alternative career pathway that may not have previously been considered.