Case study

Graduate town planner — Lisa Wildman

There is demand within town planning for candidates with a range of experience. Find out how Lisa secured her graduate role

How did you get your job?

I saw the job advertised on my university careers website and applied online. This involved sending a tailored CV and cover letter and answering a few questions about how I met the company's values. I think that tailoring my application helped me get through to the next stage of the process.

What are your main work activities?

I check emails, make a list of tasks for the day and check the progress of any planning applications I have going through the planning system. I liaise with the relevant people to manage planning applications, such as case officers, designers and statutory consultees.

I also support senior staff by reviewing plans, preparing documents for submission and updating project managers and other colleagues involved in coordinating different aspects of larger planning applications.

How has your role developed and what are your main career ambitions?

I have quickly been given more responsibility and have coordinated, prepared, submitted and managed several of my own small scale applications. This early career experience is exactly what I need to develop the 'bread and butter' skills of a town planner.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really enjoy working with a variety of people; planning involves coordinating various professionals from different fields in order to prepare and manage an application successfully.

Each application is different and presents its own issues and this means that I meet lots of new challenges every day. The people I work with make my working environment a great place to learn and develop new skills.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Responding to queries from case officers and others outside my organisation about aspects of the planning process and applications that I'm unsure about. This is to be expected at this early stage in my career and my colleagues are very supportive and help me address these queries effectively. This is enabling me to develop the necessary skills and knowledge and is in turn increasing my confidence.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Get as much experience as you can while studying as this significantly improves your chances of getting a job when you graduate.

For students studying a subject other than planning there is a demand in the field for people with a wide range of experience, so don't be put off. Visit the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) the professional body for town planners, for a list of universities that offer RTPI accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

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