- Where did you study planning?
I took a fast-track masters in urban and regional planning at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
- What skills did you have when you graduated?
Presentation and report-writing, combined with six years of previous experience in information services.
- What attracted you to planning?
I wanted a job that was creative and challenging.
- What did you learn in your first job?
So far, I have learned how to write environmental reports and carry out a multitude of surveys as background research. I am now working on a local plan amendment, which is teaching me about site analysis and selection.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Project management experience from my information services work has helped in my new profession. I am also learning how to use geographical information systems effectively and communicate across the disciplines.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
Julie Preston introduced me to planning while I was working in Herefordshire. Marilyn Higgins taught me urban design at Heriot-Watt. My manager at Scottish Borders Martin Wanless gives me continual encouragement.
- What is your career highlight?
Winning a travel scholarship to Montreal and delivering a paper at the Planning Summer School. I studied the urban design toolkit being developing to masterplan the city.
- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?
To have the belief that I can make things work out in difficult situations.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
Further specialism in urban design by studying for another masters. I would like to develop my drawing skills.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
It is very important because planning is influenced by a multitude of issues that must inform decisions.