A Pounds 40 million government package aimed at improving parts of North Staffordshire has prompted Staffordshire University to launch an MA programme in local economic regeneration.
Rick Ball, one of the UK's few professors of local regeneration, said that course provision in this growing area is still sadly lacking.
"We need more trained practitioners in order to give old or run-down places a new lease of life. There are some courses around, but none of them focuses specifically on local regeneration, which is very much on the UK and European agenda," he said.
"Local regeneration workers need a more in-depth understanding of regeneration challenges, pitfalls and solutions," he added.
The first intake of postgraduate students, in September, will include planners, policy-makers and economic developers, which fits in with government calls to improve public sector training.
The course will combine "robust theory" with practical issues, such as the nature of industrial change and community problems. Its aim is to introduce students to local regeneration at "ground level".
Professor Ball said: "We hope that bringing these practitioners together will allow them to draw on the richness of the local regeneration process... and ultimately deliver more informed policy."
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