Louisa Ward, 3rd Year Geography and Planning
I have been fortunate enough to get work experience at a private planning consultancy last summer at Cerda Planning based in Sutton Coldfield, and at a transport planning consultancy last Christmas at Phil Jones Associates, based in Longbridge.
Planners are involved in the making and shaping of place. They make long and short-term decisions about the management and development of cities, towns, villages and the countryside. They aim to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transport and the environment, in order to allow appropriate development to take place.
A planning career can be pursued in many different environments, in both the public and private sector. With regards to the public sector, as well as local government and the Planning Inspectorate, Planners can be found within organisations such as the Environment Agency, the Highways Agency and the Homes and Communities Agency. In the private sector, Planners are employed by developers, planning consultancies and can also be found within architecture, surveying and property companies.
By completing both work experience placements, they have given me an insight into the world of planning and what I look for in my future career. I felt this was essential for me to have the opportunity to work with professionals of all ages and to appreciate the importance of clear thought, self-motivation, organisation and meeting deadlines through personal experiences in the workplace.
Coordinating urban transport and land-use planning is more difficult today than ever. Increasingly, transportation must serve an urban realm that is more and more diverse and complex, due to a host of powerful global trends, such as economic globalisation and technological advances. This was evident during both my placements, where I saw the importance of planning in action. I undertook a variety of tasks, from consulting with clients, key stakeholders and other interested parties. I also negotiated and liaised with professionals such as developers, surveyors and architects. In the office I developed planning solutions by designing layouts of plans and drafting design statements. I visited a total of four different sites over both placements to assess the effects of proposals on the environment and local community, including the former Rover Plant in Longbridge.
I feel that my work experience has been very useful, work-shadowing different people in the firm has exposed me to other parts of the companies, helping me adapt to different work environments and organisational cultures. Furthermore, I feel that my past work experience has aided me in getting my 2 month internship at Bilfinger GVA in Brindleyplace during the summer. Similarly, many of my friends are interested to pursue careers in planning and development, from surveying to town and transport planning.