A SCHEME to attract more people from minority ethnic groups into the planning profession in the North-East has been launched.

Recruitment for the traineeships starts in the spring with the first candidates in place by the autumn.

As well as a postgraduate degree in town and country planning, trainees will also get practical experience with local council planning departments or the Planning Inspectorate.

Planning minister Tony McNulty said: "The future shape of our towns, cities and countryside depends on the people who plan it.

"To be fully attuned to the needs of our diverse society, the planning profession should reflect its diversity in its composition. I welcome this initiative as a practical example of the profession's commitment to attract a more diverse workforce."

* To apply for the scheme contact Noorjaham Rahman, The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN, tel (0117) 372 6372.