The things I know

Mike Gibson, partner, Town Planning Department Rapleys LLP.

- Where did you study planning?

Geography degree from King's College London and a masters in civic design from the University of Liverpool.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

The ability to apply myself to the task, work as part of a team, an awareness that planning involves many disciplines and a basic understanding of planning law.

- What attracted you to planning?

My King's College professor's enthusiasm for the subject and the ways in which planning can change the environment.

- What did you learn in your first job?

How to apply my academic skills to the real world, engage with the local community and accept that not everybody likes planners.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

How to write reports free from jargon, how to negotiate mutually acceptable solutions, how to manage people and projects, how to keep clients happy and how to use a computer.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?

The professor who introduced me to planning, chief officers in local government, my colleagues in private practice and my wife.

- What is your career highlight?

Winning my first appeal, gaining promotion within local government, becoming a director with two private practices and a partner with a third.

- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?

That skills acquired in my career can be used in other situations.

- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?

To remain flexible as a way of winning new business and to understand the role of mediation in planning.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

It is essential to understand the requirements of allied professions, just as we'd expect them to understand our own.

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