• Associate Programme open for applications

  • Associate Programme open for applications

  • Associate Programme open for applications

  • Associate Programme open for applications


Spring 2024 cohort joins the Associate Programme

11 April 2024

Spring 2024 Cohort

Public Practice has seen a rich quality of applicants coming from notable practices and backgrounds in the private sector, with skills ranging from housing to property and sustainability.

Spring 24 Cohort of 25 across six regions in England, including continued expansion into the South West with six new job placements

Jobs Board launches this April and will advertise UK-wide placemaking roles in the public sector for senior-level professionals

Since 2017, Public Practice has championed bringing diverse skills and expertise from the private sector to local authorities in England. Their Associate Programme has placed 346 Associates at 96 Authorities to date, with 77% still working in the public sector two years after the 12-month programme had ended.

To continue its mission of supporting the public sector to build new capacity and celebrating the work of those already there, Public Practice is launching new services for the first time since the organisation started in 2017:

  • A jobs board to support local authorities to attract senior-level professionals to public sector roles all year round
  • A new website to provide resources and go-to guidance for building a career in the public sector
  • A new magazine, Public Notice, celebrates the critical every day and interdisciplinary work of public sector placemakers nationwide.

The Spring 2024 Cohort sees Public Practice secure 25 Associates in six regions across England, with the highest number of roles in the South West of England to date. Of these job placements, 52% of Authorities had previously tried but failed to recruit a candidate both internally and externally. Public Practice has seen a rich quality of applicants coming from notable practices and backgrounds in the private sector. With skills ranging from housing, planning, and property to sustainability and more, the Spring 2024 Cohort shows leading sector professionals changing their career direction to join purpose-led roles in local authorities.

Five candidates who have decided to take this exciting new step with the Associate Programme include:

  • Chukwumaobi Ibe (Cornwall Council) is an engineering, technology and sustainability expert and most recently involved in pioneering work integrating Scan-BIM technology and Building Information Modelling for building deconstruction planning.
  • Suki Sehmbi (Derby City Council) is an architect, researcher and educator at Loughborough University. Suki’s ongoing work is driven by socio-political questioning and focuses on challenging planning & procurement to produce public and private spaces to benefit everyone.
  • Sophie McCombes (Liverpool City Council) is an architect coming from the Stirling Prize-winning Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Sophie’s work is about delivering buildings that embody truly sustainable principles, ones that reduce their carbon emissions and are built to last the test of time.
  • Eleanor Brough (Reading Borough Council) a former Director at Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Eleanor has worked at the practice for 17 years, delivering projects across the UK in community, education and housing sectors
  • Emma Twine (Tendring District Council) is an architect, researcher & educator based in rural Essex. Emma was Associate Director at DK-CM Architects, currently teaches at Central Saint Martins, runs a permaculture smallholding and is an active member of her local community.

As the Associate Programme has scaled nationally for those in their mid-career, Public Practice has found that there is a wealth of qualified senior-level built environment professionals who are also interested in moving into the public sector. To help these individuals find more value in their work and build their careers in this sector, Public Practice has developed a new Jobs Board to advertise senior public sector roles. For the candidate market, it is hard to navigate multiple job boards across different local authorities, and other job boards in the market are sector-specific. Public Practice believes in the need for a unique and bespoke approach to public sector placemaking and will advertise roles eligible across their eight disciplines, from ecology to urban design. This will help widen Public Practice’s mission of building public sector capability beyond the current salary bracket of jobs the Associate Programme works within.

The Jobs Board will help make public sector roles more understandable and accessible to a wider audience. With Public Practice reporting in 2023, nearly 80% of local authorities found their biggest challenge was the difficulty attracting qualified and skilled candidates. The jobs board will serve as an open portal to attract highly skilled and experienced candidates in the senior stages of their careers. The curated board will showcase senior jobs within the public sector specifically for built environment professionals, with or without prior public sector experience.

Pooja Agrawal, CEO, Public Practice, said:

  • "At Public Practice, every year comes with new people, new skills and new regions, but our goal remains the same: to bridge the gap between public and private sector, and improve the quality of places for all. We hope the continued success of our Associate Programme and our new Jobs Board will further support this by helping local authorities find talented placemaking professionals to build the capacity and capability of their teams."

Joanna Averley, Chief Planner, Department of Levelling Up Housing & Communities, said:

  • “We are proud to support the important work that Public Practice is doing. Our funding is being used to help recruit more skilled planners and experts into local authorities – increasing their capacity and speeding up local decisions on the ground. Public Practice’s Associate Programme is already seeing the positive impact on local authorities nationwide, and it will continue to do so as their network is boosted by this year's range of fantastic candidates.”

Rob Perrins, Chief Executive of Berkeley Group, said:

  • “We're very proud to support Public Practice and their hugely important mission to increase capacity and skills within local authority planning teams. Our planning system is key to delivering both the affordable and private homes London needs, and we wish the latest cohort of talented placemakers every success in their roles.”

If you’re seeking a senior-level role in the public sector, join Public Practice’s jobs board mailing list. If you’re an Authority looking to advertise a role, you can find more information here.

A media pack link can be downloaded. Photography credit: © Benoît Grogan-Avignon

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