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CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 23, 2014
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How to Become an Economic Development Officer in the UK

economic development officer
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Do you wish financial freedom for others? You could earn a living retaining and increasing the number of job openings to help unemployed people get back to work. This describes your role as an economic development officer. Working in this position, you work closely with companies, communities and the local government to schedule and develop ventures that bring facilities, jobs and business to your area.

What Do Economic Development Officers Do?

As an economic development officer, your duties include but are not limited to:

  • Researching opportunities for public and private sector economic development financing
  • Identifying joint venture opportunities and helping with any deliberations
  • Providing advice regarding economic opportunities and market analysis
  • Representing communities at local, and national level economic conferences
  • Securing finances for economic activities and programs
  • Acting as liaison between business, local organizations, individuals and government representatives for the purpose of executing economic development
  • Managing budgets
  • Planning business and offering presentations
  • Advising community groups and local businesses
  • Establishing local training schemes

Salary

Earnings for economic development officers vary with location. Below is their annual salary according to their level of service:

Starting officer

£23,000

Experienced officer

£26,000-£35,000

Senior officer

Up to £80,000

Source: My World of Work

Skills

As a development officer, you need to have the following important qualities:

  • Have strong oral and written communication skills
  • Have the aptitude to offer simultaneous management to several projects
  • Be service oriented
  • Have people skills
  • Have the ability to build a large network of contacts
  • Have numerate and computer literacy
  • Be organized
  • Be able to work diligently to adhere to tight deadlines
  • Be thoroughly knowledgeable in the business field
  • Be knowledgeable of the funding and organization structure of the regional, central and local government
  • Be initiative and motivated
  • Have excellent research and report writing skills

Qualifications

To become an economic development officer, you need to be qualified and experienced in various related specialties such as:

  • Construction management
  • Town planning
  • Regeneration
  • Surveying
  • Business advice
  • Community development

A large number of employers prefer candidates who possess skills in marketing, controlling budgets and managing projects. Most economic development officers have secured postgraduate training but it is important that they gain the required knowledge and background required for this position. For instance, candidates who possess a HND, foundation degree or postgraduate qualification in housing, economics or regeneration have a competitive advantage.

Economic development officers learn their skills on practice. However, employers might organize for them to complete short programs offered by outside consultants, universities or organizations such as IED. These institutions provide various opportunities ranging from short to longer CPD programs. There are also many other universities that offer distance and part-time postgraduate programs in regeneration, community work, economic development and urban renewal. Those who proceed with the continuous development programs might gain eligibility for senior positions in economic development such as management and teaching of starting economic development officers.

Career Prospects

Typical employers for economic development officers include learning and skills councils, development agencies, local enterprise companies and local authorities. Most jobs are of fixed-term contracts. According to the NCS, there will be about 1,760,000 job opportunities for these professionals by 2020 in the UK.

If you are highly motivated and have excellent leadership and communication skills, this career is fit for you!

Image Source: iStock

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