Kate has a BSc in Land Management and an MSc in Urban Planning and Development. She currently works as a planner for a large commercial real estate company where there are graduates from a wide range of backgrounds.
I've now been working within the planning team of a large commercial real estate company for nearly two years. My university course covered my main interests, which are geography, the built environment and property, with some opportunity to be slightly creative. It offered teaching over a broad range of topics, which didn't narrow my options too much and retained a strong focus on the property industry. The natural progression from this was the property sector, and I was able to focus throughout the course on learning more about the planning process.
During the summer between the end of my degree and start of the Masters course, I took a work experience placement within my current planning team. On completing the placement, I attended the company's assessment centre and was offered my current job to start following the Masters.
My university course was extremely relevant to securing a work experience placement and my place on the graduate training scheme. Competition for planning jobs remains high and, although there are graduates from a wide range of backgrounds, most have some sort of property, geography or commercial knowledge and/or experience.
My course was structured to reflect the type of work I do now and gave some base skills to take forward, including grounding in research, analysis of relevant information, report writing and presentation, as well as technical aspects.
In my current role I'm involved in a huge variety of large and small projects, for both private and public sector clients, in relation to residential, commercial, education, leisure and mixed-use developments, but the main focus of our work is within the following areas:
Our work involves a lot of communication between the client, relevant councils and specialist sub-consultants, and consultation with members of the public. It's important to recognise the broad scope of planning and understand the complete picture of the potential impacts of development.
My role has certainly developed over the course of the first two years. I'm now much more aware of the role of planning within property development and the range of issues that can influence a development proposal.
I particularly enjoy the scope of planning, the need to constantly identify challenges and solutions, and the potential to specialise within a specific area. My colleagues have also been a brilliant support. Whilst it is often very challenging to coordinate issues and present potential development schemes, particularly to members of the public, the positive aspects of delivery more than outweigh the difficulties.
The next stage in my career will be my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) submission to gain full membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) . Following this, I hope to develop my own area of specialisation.
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