A NSW Government website

Strong Start

Fostering the next generation of planners in NSW

Planners are vital to shaping the communities we live in, by assisting to create vibrant and liveable cities, towns and regions for people to enjoy.

The department works with industry, local government and the private sector to support a skilled planning workforce in NSW. This workforce is critical to ensuring our NSW planning system is effective, efficient and delivering good outcomes for communities.

Planning has not been immune to the skills shortage being felt across the country. The following initiatives aims to address this shortage connecting students with jobs, and councils with much-needed planners, particularly in our regional areas.

Cadetship program

To continue giving a strong start to our new generation of planners, in May 2023, we launched a council cadetship program to directly address NSW councils’ planning workforce shortages and support them to employ new locally based planning cadets.

The program includes $1.85 million in grant funding and ongoing end-to-end support to:

  • encourage councils to onboard additional cadet planners and develop them into more senior roles
  • grow more planners in NSW councils, particularly in regional areas where the planning skills shortage is most severe
  • help planning graduates gain practical work experience while increasing the capacity of council planning teams.

From 19 May until 9 June 2023, councils were invited to apply for grants of $25,000 to fund planning cadets’ university tuition. We received stronger than anticipated interest with applications exceeding available grants. In response to this we expanded the program to allow all 74 councils that applied to receive one grant.

List of councils receiving funding for the Strong Start Cadetship program

The following councils applied for and received grants of $25,000 to fund planning cadets’ university tuition:

  1. Albury City Council
  2. Armidale Regional Council
  3. Ballina Shire Council
  4. Bathurst Regional Council
  5. Bayside Council
  6. Bega Valley Shire Council
  7. Bellingen Shire Council
  8. Blayney Shire Council
  9. Bogan Shire Council
  10. Broken Hill City Council
  11. Byron Shire Council
  12. Cabonne Council
  13. Campbelltown City Council
  14. Cessnock City Council
  15. Clarence Valley Council
  16. Cobar Shire Council
  17. Coffs Harbour City Council
  18. Coolamon Shire Council
  19. Coonamble Shire Council
  20. Cowra Shire Council
  21. Cumberland Council
  22. Dubbo Regional Council
  23. Dungog Shire Council
  24. Edward River Council
  25. Eurobodalla Shire Council
  26. Fairfield City Council
  27. Forbes Shire Council
  28. Glen Innes Severn Council
  29. Goulburn Mulwaree Council
  30. Greater Hume Shire Council
  31. Griffith City Council
  32. Gunnedah Shire Council
  33. Inverell Shire Council
  34. Junee Shire Council
  35. Kempsey Shire Council
  36. Lake Macquarie City Council
  37. Lismore City Council
  38. Liverpool Plains Shire Council
  39. Mid-Coast Council
  40. Mid-Western Regional Council
  41. Moree Plains Shire Council
  42. Mosman Municipal Council
  43. Murray River Council
  44. Muswellbrook Shire Council
  45. Narrabri Shire Council
  46. Newcastle City Council
  47. Oberon Council
  48. Orange City Council
  49. Port Stephens Council
  50. Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council
  51. Randwick City Council
  52. Shellharbour City Council
  53. Shoalhaven City Council
  54. Singleton Council
  55. Snowy Valleys Council
  56. Strathfield Municipal Council
  57. Sutherland Shire Council
  58. Tamworth Regional Council
  59. The Council of the Municipality of Hunters Hill
  60. The Council of the Shire of Hornsby
  61. The Hills Shire Council
  62. Tweed Shire Council
  63. Upper Lachlan Shire Council
  64. Uralla Shire Council
  65. Wagga Wagga City Council
  66. Walgett Shire Council
  67. Warrumbungle Shire Council
  68. Waverley Council
  69. Weddin Shire Council
  70. Wentworth Shire Council
  71. Willoughby City Council
  72. Wingecarribee Shire Council
  73. Wollondilly Shire Council
  74. Yass Valley Council
NSW map showing councils who received a Strong Start Planning Cadetship Grant
Map of councils who received a Strong Start Planning Cadetship Grant

For more information about our Strong Start Cadetship program:

Mentoring program

To facilitate a strong start to our next generation of planners, in February 2023 we launched our first mentoring program open to any student or graduate planner working at a council in NSW.

Students and graduates were paired with experienced planners at the department, who share knowledge and expertise, provide coaching, expand professional networks, and support professional development. The program offers personal support when starting out in your career.

What’s happening now

The mentoring program is now underway, with 60 mentees from 48 councils taking part until December 2023.

All mentees have now been matched with a suitable mentor and started their mentoring journey, which includes:

  • completing the Art of Mentoring online training
  • attending 3 MS Teams webinar events: program launch, mid-program review, program close
  • establishing a timetable for one-on-one meetings by working with their paired mentoring partner
  • completing surveys throughout the program to ensure all mentees get what they need from the program.

For more information about our Strong Start mentoring program:

Student and graduate employment directory

Students and graduates can launch their careers by discovering a wide range of job opportunities on the Planning Institute of Australia’s Employment Directory.

We have partnered with the Planning Institute of Australia to create a new field “Student/Graduate Employment” on the employment directory to make it quicker and easier to discover relevant positions in local and state government, and the private sector.

Find your next job opportunity on the employment directory.

NSW councils can advertise for free

To help councils fill planner job vacancies, we are waiving the cost for all NSW councils to post an unlimited number of student or graduate planner jobs on the employment directory in 2023.

Councils can advertise student or graduate jobs for free. Simply download this Advertising Request form (PDF, 103 KB) and email it to [email protected]