Economic development officer

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Jack Evans is an economic development officer a City Council. He manages the City Investment Fund, a city-wide programme which supports the development of land and building projects for commercial and industrial activity.

What kind of work do you do?

I spend a lot of time working with other private and public sector bodies to develop project ideas such as undertaking security and environmental improvements to industrial estates and business parks. This might include new fencing, lighting, landscaping and road surfacing. I also work on projects to build modern offices and industrial units.

The work involves securing funding for projects, administering and monitoring them to make sure that they are effective. It is also part of the job to resolve any problems that might occur.

Why do you work with partners?

Having the trust, support and co-operation of local businesses is very important to get projects off the ground and make sure they are successful. It is vital to work closely with businesses located in the areas we are planning to improve. They have to be convinced that the improvements will help them – for example, improving fencing and lighting can help to improve security, which means that businesses are less at risk from thieves and vandals.

What qualities do you need to be an economic development officer?

You must be able to work with all kinds of people from different organisations at different levels, so being a good communicator is vital. It can take a long time to see results with some projects, so enthusiasm and perseverance are also important. Economic development and regeneration covers a broad range of activities so you should be flexible, adaptable to change and able to manage a varied workload.

What hours do you work?

I work a standard 37-hour week covering normal office hours. Sometimes, I have to attend evening meetings or breakfast meetings, but, as I work flexi-time, I can usually take time off to compensate for early starts or late finishes.

What do you like most about your job as an economic development officer?

This is a very interesting, constantly changing field of work. I have the opportunity to get involved in some very exciting projects and help to make the city a better place in which to live, work and invest.

Is there anything you dislike?

You can sometimes wait a long time for important decisions to be made about projects or for external funding to be approved – which can be frustrating. Many jobs in this field can be fixed-term contracts, so you must be flexible and prepared to change jobs during your career.

Jack's route to his career as an economic development officer

  • A levels in French and Business Studies.
  • BA (Hons) in European Business and Languages.
  • Three month secondment at a City Council.
  • One year with a local media training company.
  • Four years working in the Economic Development team at Solihull MBC.
  • Joined Wolverhampton City Council.

Jack's economic development officer tips

  • Geography, business studies, economics and languages can be useful subjects to prepare you for this career.
  • Try to get some relevant work experience with your local council or one of the other agencies involved in regeneration such as Business Link, the Chamber of Commerce, the Learning and Skills Council, and a voluntary or community group.

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Salary of an economic development officer

  • New entrants usually earn around £14,000 to £18,000, rising to £28,000 with experience.
  • A senior officer can earn between £30,000 and £60,000.

How to become an economic development officer

  • There are no set entry requirements but most economic development officers have a degree or a professional qualification. Relevant subjects include business studies, surveying, planning, economics and marketing. Applicants have often had previous experience in one of these areas.
  • You could enter after taking a postgraduate course in local or regional economic development.
  • It is possible to join an economic development unit as a clerk with at least three GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3). With experience and further training you could gain promotion.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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