Economic Development Officer

Economic development in local government is all about improving the economy of an area, by attracting new businesses, encouraging investment opportunities, increasing job opportunities, promoting leisure and tourism and identifying opportunities for sustainable growth and development.  Economic Development Officers draw up local economic development strategies and implement actions to achieve all this.

Work Environment
Local government Economic Development Officers are office-based, although they spend a lot of time travelling to meetings with local business representatives or partner organisations.
Daily Activities
The role of an Economic Development Officer in a local council can be varied and includes work at both a strategic level and at operational, implementation level.  Duties might include some or all of the following:

  • carrying out surveys, research and consultations in order to write a local economic development strategy;
  • creating an action plan in order to implement the economic development strategy and monitoring its progress;
  • seeking opportunities for external funding and making bids;
  • project managing economic development and regeneration schemes;
  • working closely in partnership with other organisations including the Sector Skills Council, Welsh Government, neighbouring councils, the Chamber of Commerce and Jobcentre Plus;
  • providing advice for local entrepreneurs and business start-ups;
  • acting as a first point of call for investment enquiries;
  • promoting the development of tourism in the area;
  • encouraging sustainable business practices.

Some larger councils might employ Economic Development Officers in more specialist areas of work, such as inward investment, European funding or business development/advice.
Skills & Abilities
Local government economic development officers need:

  • business acumen skills;
  • financial ability;
  • communication skills;
  • an ability to build relationships with partner organisations, and network; 
  • project management skills; 
  • an understanding of development and regeneration; 
  • an understanding of strategic direction.

Entry Requirements
There are no specific minimum requirements, but most local councils ask for a degree in a relevant subject, such as economics, planning, business studies, geography or estates management.  Some local councils might ask for previous experience within economic development or of putting funding bids together.
Future Prospects & Opportunities
Local government Economic Development Officers may move into the role after some experience as an economic development or business development assistant.  There may be opportunities to progress to managerial positions within economic development or finance.

Further Information & Services
British Chambers of Commerce
Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards
Institute of Economic Development
Welsh Government

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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