- What qualifications do you have?
I graduated in July after studying urban studies and planning at the University of Sheffield.
- What is your current job?
Graduate planner at Scott Wilson.
- Why did you choose planning?
My interest in spatial planning was stimulated while studying for my geography A level. I investigated the regeneration of the Lower Don Valley area in Sheffield, which involved looking at the urban development corporation's impact on the area between the late 1980s and the mid 1990s. I then decided to study a planning-related course. Towards the end of my degree at Sheffield, I gained a place on Scott Wilson's graduate development programme. I initially joined the Birmingham planning and regeneration team and am now based in Manchester.
- What does your job entail?
I have been involved in the submission of planning applications, which involved conducting site appraisals, preparing the application form and supporting documentation and maintaining contact with the local planning authority case officer.
I also helped prepare a feasibility report for a green infrastructure study on the outskirts of Nottingham. I contacted stakeholders, attended a consultation event and reviewed planning policy and reports relevant to the study area.
I have recently been involved in preparing a strategic regeneration and development plan for south Holderness in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I reviewed documents and highlighted the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats affecting this vulnerable coastal area.
- What do you do in a typical day?
If I am working on a project with other team members, I may be involved in progress meetings. If I am preparing a planning application, I may put together the supporting statement and additional documentation that is required.
- What skills do you need to be successful in your job?
The ability to work as part of a team and communicate effectively with both planning professionals and the general public are crucial to success. It is also important to be aware of the time and monetary constraints to ensure that targets are met.
- What are the best and worst points of your job?
Working for a consultancy gives the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects across the UK. This has developed my understanding of spatial planning and the issues facing different locations. The tedious part of my job is the administrative duties required to ensure that projects are carried out effectively.
- How would you like your career to progress in future?
My aim is to develop my understanding of spatial planning and work towards a more senior position. The first step in achieving this will be to complete my assessment of professional competence for RTPI chartered membership. I would also like to specialise in a specific field of spatial planning in the future.
- What advice do you have for students and graduates interested in a career as a town planner?
It is imperative to keep abreast of changes to the planning system and remain up to date with current procedures when you start working.
- Louise Bolton is Young Planners' page editor.