St Albans City and District Council HR has adopted a ‘grow
your own’ policy to help meet skills shortages in the highly-skilled area of
Through its Undergraduate Planning Placement scheme, the
council entices undergraduate students who are going into their final year of
study to choose council work placements over more traditional summer jobs.
Students spend three months in the council’s planning
department and earn £230 a week helping planners on site and in the preparation
of reports about potential building development.
Portfolio holder for resources, Chris Oxley, said the
placements were preferable to ‘peripheral’ jobs, which students take to make
ends meet, and that the scheme would persuade them of the benefits of further
employment in local government.
"Councils don’t sell their fringe benefits well enough
when it comes to recruitment," he said. "If we get students onto the
scheme, they can see all the extras."
"You have to remember life can be pretty difficult for
students. They are short of money and they worry about getting a job after they
The scheme has proved a success, with two students on summer
placement opting to stay until February, before taking up full-time planning
Oxley said the scheme also gave a huge boost to the planning
department, as the ‘mountains of work’ were decreasing and bosses were
perceived as acting on staff concerns.