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Hands-on training for tomorrow's town planners in USC-Council partnership

A partnership between Noosa Council and University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is opening doors for aspiring town planners.

Each year USC students work with Council’s planning staff to assess development applications and answer planning enquiries.

Council’s Development Assessment Manager Kerri Coyle says staff aim to give the students a taste of what to expect when they start out in the industry.

“It’s fantastic that the University sees value in offering its students industry placements so they gain practical skills they can take with them to the workforce,” Ms Coyle said.

“We’re pleased to support the students’ professional development by helping prepare them for what working as a local government planning officer requires.”

Final-year USC Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning student Billy Glover accepted an internship with Council through the University last year. For him, it has also led to a short-term paid role at Council.

“Collaborating with and working alongside experienced council officers has allowed me to put my knowledge of town planning into practice,” he said.

“I have worked individually and within group settings on development applications for residential, commercial and agricultural development sites.”

Ms Coyle said she and her staff welcomed the opportunity to work with USC’s students.

USC’s Urban Design and Town Planning Program Coordinator Dr Nick Stevens said the real-world experience that Noosa Council provided had been critical to the success of the students and boosted their employability.

“There is real demand for our work-ready students,” he said. “In previous years, most of our graduates found jobs within six months of completion, whereas more than half of next year’s graduates are already employed.

“There is so much going on in the region from a town planning perspective, and it’s great that our students are getting exposed to real-world issues by undertaking placements and internships as part of their final year of study.”

5 December 2017