Introducing the IPI's Technical & Education Committee

Paula Russell MIPI

The IPI’s Technical and Education committee oversees much of the educational and ongoing training and development remit of the Institute. In truly cross sectoral fashion it brings together planners from the public, private and academic sectors.  The current membership comprises, Eleanor McPartlin, from Stephen Little and Associates, Gerry Sheeran formerly Limerick City and County Council (who is the convener of the committee), Tim Walsh from Wicklow County Council, Will Brady from UCC’s Centre for Planning Education and Research and myself from UCD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy (chair). The Committee considers and advises Council on matters such as CPD policy, implementation and monitoring of the Education Guidelines, accreditation of planning courses, and public education and awareness. 

Over the past couple of years, overseeing the introduction of mandatory CPD has been a key role of the committee. We are happy that this year, the second year of the mandatory registration of CPD, has seen a much higher incidence of reporting. My colleagues and I on the committee are cheerleaders for CPD, believing that it can keep us abreast of changes and developments that affect the profession.  We also feel that CPD can be used as a means to enthuse and continue to inspire us as planners, showcasing innovative practice, and providing us with new insights. We’re aware that it has take a while to get used to the whole process but we are getting there. I do have to admit, that I’m trying to get a bit better at logging my CPD as I go, rather than leaving it to the last minute, as is my usual trait!! On the CPD front the committee have recently been discussing potential topics and speakers for the Autumn conference and other CPD events.

The implementation of the Institute’s Education Guidelines, means that the committee oversees the work of accreditation teams who visit our planning schools to monitor the professional planning programmes which the IPI accredit. This is an important role and is one where we call on the wider IPI membership to share their expertise and serve on the teams. This year the DIT’s planning programmes will be coming up for review and we have begun to approach members to serve on this review team. This isn’t a particularly onerous task, we promise, so don’t baulk if you do get an invitation. As someone who is on the other side of the table most of the work falls to the planning schools when accreditation is in the offing!

In our public education and awareness role one of our key tasks for the year is to commission a publicity cartoon/film for the IPI, to publicise what we do as planners.  One of the objectives the Institute’s Education Guidelines is to educate the wider public about planning. A simple task, surely! As someone who regularly has to sell planning to 5th and 6th year students fielding questions such as -“if I do this course, could I still be a secondary school teacher? “, “is it a bit like architecture..?” and has to recruit hard headed graduates  to commit to a 2 year Masters programme in planning – “Will there be a job at the end of it?” “is it an interesting career?”, I’m constantly pulling my hair out thinking of new ways to market planning! But I must admit it has been fruitful to brainstorm with my colleagues in the committee to work on how we want to portray planning to a range of different audiences. This is still a work in progress, and if you’ve any ideas on this you can send them on to me! We’ll feedback on progress in our next blog!

Paula Russell MIPI
Chair, Technical & Education Committee