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CAREERS - RISE FROM THE ASHES

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Regeneration requires a wide range of skills, from management to communication. Alia Waheed looks to put an area ba...
Regeneration requires a wide range of skills, from management to communication. Alia Waheed looks to put an area back on its feet

Regeneration is about bringing new life to areas in decline and requires the involvement of most council departments. Consequently, regeneration has grown into one of the most influential parts of local government.

Paul Evans, strategic director of regeneration at Southwark LBC, describes his department's role as 'sticking our fingers into everyone's business for the positive collective whole'.

He says: 'In Southwark, there is an extensive programme of social and economic improvement. For example, in regenerating the Elephant & Castle area we are liaising with most of the council departments including planning, housing, education and leisure.'

Key issues for 2005-06

These include looking at how deprived areas can be improved through enterprise and how council activity affects regeneration.

Liz Skelcher, assistant director of partnerships at the Corporation of London, says: 'We are in a unique position in that the City itself is hugely prosperous, but is surrounded by six of the most deprived boroughs in the country. It is an amazing contrast.

'The government is piloting a scheme called the 'City growth strategy'. Central to it is that deprived areas have low average incomes but high population densities. Their combined spending power creates huge opportunities for businesses. There are seven pilot schemes, including two on our boundaries.'

Variety of backgrounds

There is no set path into regeneration. A variety of educational backgrounds and experience in local government is encouraged.

Alan Clarke, chief executive at regional development agency One NorthEast, says: 'Most people in regeneration have a wide range of backgrounds, such as architecture, social sciences and economics. The role of regeneration depends on the needs of the region you are working in, so the emphasis is on transferable skills.'

Cross-department work

Unlike many other issues in local government, regeneration does not have a single definition.

Simon Ogden, head of the development division at Sheffield City Council, says: 'In the outside world, people's lives are not compartmentalised. Their homes, work and environment are all part of their experience of the city.

'Our work doesn't just involve working with other council departments but also with other neighbourhood and community led regeneration projects.

'It is about breaking down traditional barriers between departments and working towards a common goal.'

A mix of skills

Regeneration posts are relative newcomers to local government and the job demands a variety of skills.

Drive, motivation and passion about local communities are central to management success, says Daniel Dobson-Moawad, director of economic development at Manchester Enterprises.

'[Regeneration success] requires management and communication skills, which are important for networking and cultivating partnerships,' he says.

'Regeneration doesn't exist in isolation. You have to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening elsewhere, otherwise the ways of working in your own patch are limited.'

Average maximum salaries (£)

1st tier2nd tier3rd tierother

England and Wales 73,38855,70548,79248,745

Counties 80,62455,22651,378-

Districts 56,76447,43944,994-

Mets 82,74860,879- -

London - 65,312- -

Unitaries 74,93458,67248,605-

Source: JNC, 2004

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