Overwhelming response from councils for the NSW Strong Start Cadetship Program
The NSW Government is investing $1.85 million to give a strong start to the next generation of planners, with dozens of councils receiving a share of the funding to help pay the tuition fees for young planners.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully welcomed the overwhelming response from councils for the Strong Start Cadetship Program.
"After receiving a whopping 115 applications from 74 councils, we decided to boost the program with $250,000 in additional funding and provide $25,000 to each council that applied.
"This will help more councils invest in future planners to help address a workforce shortage and tackle the housing crisis across the state."
"It was only a month ago that we put the call out to Councils seeking applications for the program, which had 64 grants available to help cover some or all of a student planner's university fees,” Mr Scully said.
The Strong Start Cadetship Program was launched in response to the planning skills shortage, which is being felt particularly in regional NSW, with the grants to provide council-employed students a free or discounted degree and practical work experience, while boosting council planners.
Mr Scully said out of the 74 councils that applied, 60 were from regional areas.
"Local government has been crying out for planners, especially in some of our regional areas, where some positions have remained vacant for some time," he said.
"We're addressing the skills shortage from the ground up, by helping councils build a pipeline of young planning talent aimed at setting up the state’s planning future for success.
"This funding will bring a fresh wave of new planners to councils, giving them a helping hand to clear their development application backlogs and speed up assessment times, which will drive better outcomes for our communities."
The $25,000 grant can be used to fund tuition fees for an undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, diploma, bachelor's degree or master's degree in planning.
Visit Strong Start for more information.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Darriea Turley said:
“Councils and communities across NSW are suffering from the impacts of skills and labour shortages.
“I want to congratulate the government on this initiative, investing in the next generation of planning specialists in local governments across NSW.
“One of our key Local Government NSW priorities has been to call for the NSW Government to commit to incentives such as cadetships to address skills shortages in the local government sector.”
Wagga Wagga City Council Mayor Dallas Tout said:
"Wagga City Council congratulates the NSW Government on the establishment of the Strong Start Cadetship Program. Our council immediately applied for participation in the program.
"We are absolutely confident that this initiative will be an amazing and positive step in promoting careers in planning for anyone looking to build a career and lifestyle in regional NSW.
"This program will establish a whole new generation of planners who grew up in regional NSW and will now be employed in planning the future of their own communities – as start to a new career there will be few opportunities which are any better."
Hornsby Shire Council Director of Planning and Compliance James Farrington said:
“Hornsby Shire Council is pleased to have been successful in obtaining a grant under the Strong Start Cadetship Program.
This funding represents a great opportunity, not only for students to learn on the job skills, but also for us as a local council to help us attract and develop a new planner at a time when we are experiencing a skills shortage.
We look forward to embarking on this program with the department’s support and assistance.”