Since the election of the Labour Government in 1997 there have been a series of policy initiatives emphasising the importance of co-ordinated and integrated approaches to
the delivery of urban regeneration and in particular Sustainable Communities. This changing policy context has given rise to a shortage of practitioners with both the
technical skills to deliver specific programmes, and more especially the generic skills to work in multi-disciplinary teams in conjunction with partnership-based management
boards. This paper discusses the origins of the debate about skills shortages and deficiencies and reviews the main government reports which have advocated a new approach to the provision of skills for community regeneration. It focuses particularly on the work of the Planning Network which was funded by the Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE) to examine the contribution of higher education to the wider skills debate. It concludes by arguing that higher education has an important part to play in the provision of a more appropriate skills set for professional practice within a broader and more inclusive strategy involving all key stakeholders. However, employers also have a major responsibility in ensuring that key skills are maintained and enhanced within their own organisations.