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25/04/2006 21:52

LF Gallegos-Rodríguez

Im an architect with a MSc in City and Regional Planning (UK), and a long relevant experience in local governments (Ecuador), to implement strategic local development plans based on participation and an integrated concerted approach. Could a moving to consulting mean for me a costly new start or an obvious step for a long term career opportunities, in regard to the trend of consulting demands?.

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26/04/2006 02:17


The top-consultant report on consulting prospects has just come out. The London 2012 Olympics was picked as one theme of anticipated future consulting projects. This will involve a lot of local development (i.e. physical regeneration, economic development, social regeneration), especially around Stratford in London, but also any of the random spots that are going to be used as venues.

This might mean that there are some good potential career opportunities, at least in the short-medium term. More generally, there is work around housing market renewal, city challenge, etc. that you might get involved in.

Some factors to bear in mind are:

1) A lot of development, especially at local level, is politically led. I think that's the same all over the world so you're probably familiar with the issue - it means opportunities can come and go according to politicians' fickleness. As a development consultant you need to be attuned to the political trends and ready to respond.

2) The changing political leads, in both local government and the bits of central government that are meant to look after them, mean that the UK development framework is ridiculously overcomplicated. Half of being a successful consultant in this field seems to be knowing your way around the acronyms, regional bodies, and being able to spot the dead end initiatives from the worthwhile investments. This could be a hurdle you need to overcome before your career takes off.

3) Development and regeneration at local level in the UK can be quite closed. Having headhunted in this field, clients (i.e. regional development agencies, local government et al.) can be quite blinkered in considering only candidates with a local track record. This is to the degree where it can be an effort to get them to consider people who have worked in private sector physical development, or voluntary sector social development. For clients in London, they can be wary of considering candidates from outside the M25. I would like to think that with more privately funded development projects there would be more opportunities for cross-fertilising ideas from other geographies as well. However, you might find it more productive to focus on private sector firms in construction/property development/possibly even architectural practices. You could then build up your networks, reputation and track record in the kind of projects that will be readily recognised by the clients and your chances of success as a consultant will improve. This is particularly worthwhile if you intend to follow the trend of many development consultants being independent rather than tied to a firm.

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