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PLANNER 2015 GUIDE TO

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CONTENTS

PLANNER 2015 GUIDE TO

THE

CAREER DEVELOPMENT

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6 Moving up House building and infrastructure booms are looming, so the profession could be on the verge of something big. The Planner’s features editor Simon Wicks looks at some of the issues to consider when preparing your next career step

10 Picking the right career path There are many pathways within planning – which suits you best? n Moving into – A Local Authority n Moving into – the Private Sector n Moving into – The Third Sector n Moving into – academia

n Polish your n

16 Salary and benefits Are you getting enough?

n

18 How to get ahead in planning Professional planning is a highly competitive arena. By developing your soft skills – and with a game plan up your sleeves – you can go far n Put together a portfolio

n

n

presentations Become a better negotiator Improve your online networking Turbo-charge your CV Produce well-written

06

8 Where is planning going? What are the larger forces shaping planning as a profession? If you are considering your next move it’s worth thinking about the big issues likely to affect the development of the profession itself

reports

n Set up as an independent

n Speaking in public 22 Career profiles Principal planner Planner Associate director Assistant planner Planning inspectorate Associate Planner Graduate Planner 26 Professional development Expanding on your professional capabilities require a consistent approach to assessing strengths, weaknesses and development opportunities n Making the most of RTPI membership n Attending RTPI events n Making the most of the RTPI’s networks n Volunteering with Planning Aid England n Becoming a mentor

26 30 Working overseas Working abroad can expand your horizons and enhance your overall capabilities – and there are plenty of opportunities n Volunteering Overseas n Working for an employer n Working abroad for yourself n Exchanges 34 Recruitment consultancies 35 Training and education providers

CONTACTS Redactive Publishing Ltd 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP 020 7880 6200

EDITORIAL Tel: 020 7324 2736 editorial@theplanner.co.uk Editor Martin Read Features editor Simon Wicks

Consultant creative director Mark Parry Art editor Karen Warren A D V E RT I S I N G & M A R K E T I N G Senior sales executive Lee-Anne Walsh – 020 7324 2753 Senior sales executive Norbert Camenzuli – 020 7880 7551 Recruitment sales John Seaman — 020 7880 8541

Reporter Laura Edgar

P RO D U C T I O N Production manager Jane Easterman

Consultant editor Huw Morris

Senior production executive Aysha Miah

Sub-editor Deborah Shrewsbury Picture editor Claire Echavarry

SUBSCRIPTIONS Ryan.hadden@redactive.co.uk

PUBLISHING Publishing director Joanna Marsh

RT P I C O N TA C T S membership@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 9462 Education education@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 9451 Planning Aid Advice Line advice@planningaid.rtpi.org.uk 0330 929 9451 41 Botolph Lane London EC3R 8DL Media enquiries Tino Hernandez tino.hernandez@rtpi.org.uk 020 7929 8182

The Planner is produced using paper that is elemental chlorine free and is sourced from sustainable managed forest. © The Planner is published on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) by Redactive Publishing Ltd (RPL), 17 Britton St, London EC1M 5TP. This magazine aims to include a broad range of opinion about planning issues and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the RTPI nor should such opinions be relied upon as statements of fact. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in any print or electronic format, including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet, or in any other format in whole or in partww in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. While all due care is taken in writing and producing this magazine, neither RTPI nor RPL accept any liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd.

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INTRODUCTION

Plotting a path in a world of constant change

MARTIN READ EDITOR, THE PLANNER

Would that other professions offered the same level of access to first-class career development opportunities that planners have. Perhaps it’s in the nature of planning as a true vocation that there is no shortage of people prepared to step forward and offer advice to their fellow professionals. And of course, membership of the RTPI obliges planners to keep a personal development plan and update it constantly. That makes perfect sense, because there’s no doubt that, within planning, change is the constant. It’s difficult not to believe that the result of the general election in 2015 will have an impact on how planning is practised, be it through further pressures on local authorities or new governmental priorities. Whatever the political arguments for and against, planning teams and departments will surely be forced to innovate. Accordingly, individual planners need to prepare themselves, because the role of the planner will

continue to evolve as a result. Yes, planners will continue producing considered and crafted actions based on precedent, process and practicalities – but there’ll be no let-up in the need to ensure a routine response to this constant change. Planning could and should become more visible in the year ahead. To take just one of many examples, anticipated rises in energy costs between now and 2020 will only help bring the profession further to the fore, highlighting the challenges around good urban design in constrained spaces and the dialogue needed to ensure a sustainable environment. This guide helps to set out the issues you should consider when seeking to expand your horizons or move from one job to another. Whatever your status and role, we've provided some food for thought about what, when and how you should prioritise your personal and professional development. We hope you enjoy it.

Career development in a constantly evolving profession

JANET ASKEW PRESIDENT, RTPI

4

Welcome to this special careers guide edition of The Planner. It aims to show how planning is an exciting and worthwhile profession, with a host of opportunities for a long and successful career – in the public, private, voluntary or university sector. In my career, I have experienced being a planner in all of these sectors, and I feel privileged to have had such variety. Most people enter the profession with an ambition to improve places in the public interest, and of course this continues to reflect the spirit of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Royal Charter. Planning is a constantly evolving profession and there are numerous CPD opportunities, as well as the RTPI-accredited degrees offering a chance to specialise. The RTPI offers considerable support to its members, with networking opportunities, seminars, training programmes, short courses, publications and a mine of information on our website. Being a member of the RTPI is a mark of professionalism and it will stand you in good

stead for a successful career. Planning is respected across many countries, and it is known that the public, businesses, clients and governments value the professional ethics, impartiality and due care shown by chartered planners – supported by the RTPI’s code of conduct. Planning remains at the heart of delivering sustainable development, and many planners are working to innovate in this field. Planners often work in multi-disciplinary teams, co-operating with other professions to provide the best solutions for new and regenerated environments. I believe that being a member of the RTPI opens doors to working on a wide range of issues and specialisms. Theory and practice come together to solve the issues of society, economy and the environment, across borders, in different administrations, where planners lead, negotiate and mediate between interests. This guide proves the potential of planning to be a lifelong fulfilling and diverse career.

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ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

“PLAN YOUR FUTURE WITH BEACH BAKER” LONDON

SENIOR PLANNER

BRISTOL

Up to £60K + corporate benefits (inc. car allowance) + bonus

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Our client, a well-respected multi-disciplinary consultancy is expanding their London planning team with an Associate Director. We are seeking MRTPI qualified candidates with London based consultancy experience to work on a mix of residential, commercial, mixed-use and retail schemes in central London and across the South East. You should be a confident business winner with contacts in this region. Great progression and rewards.

Beach Baker have been instructed by one of the leading consultancies in Bristol to appoint a Senior Planner. Candidates should be MRTPI qualified with a good grounding in development management. Projects will include residential, commercial, mixed-use and environmental schemes. You should be client facing and have good knowledge/experience of the South West market. Private sector experience is preferred but not essential.

RH/882415

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SENIOR PLANNER

ruth@beachbaker.co.uk MANCHESTER

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SENIOR OR ASSOCIATE PLANNER

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Up to £40,000 + Benefits and Bonus

£45,000 + Benefits and Bonus

One of Manchester’s most respected consultancies is currently seeking a Senior Planner to get involved with a multitude of projects focused primarily on the residential markets; although as a multidisciplinary project diversification is available. Candidates looking to get involved will be fully MRTPI qualified and have worked in consultancies previously or have similar development management experience.

An established national planning consultancy is looking for an MRTPI qualified Senior Planner or new Associate to work across a number of residential and mixed-use schemes at their Birmingham offices. You will be heavily involved in many of the major developments, with client contact being a key aspect to the role. Consultancy or similar development management experience is required for this opportunity.

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kyle@beachbaker.co.uk

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BRISTOL T: 0117 985 6909 LEEDS T: 0113 357 1475 LONDON T: 0207 025 8123 Log onto www.beachbaker.co.uk for all the latest jobs and to sign up for job alerts.

Improve your lifestyle Enjoy more quality time And fast track your career A very exciting year lies ahead for our Council as one of the leading planning authorities in Hertfordshire. As the workload continues to grow across the region we are keen to strengthen our team with the addition of the ambitious Planning professionals who are interested in developing their careers further and faster in a vibrant and expanding Planning and Building Control Services Department. For all positions we offer a great remuneration package including competitive salaries, Local Government Pension Scheme, minimum annual leave of 23 days a year, home working/flexible working (where applicable), train season ticket loan, health initiatives and a leisure discount scheme. And these are just some of the many benefits you’ll receive when you join us. St Albans is also an attractive place to live and work with its heritage, busy city centre and award winning green parks. Our refurbished Council offices are located in the centre of the city near to a wide range of shops and restaurants.

For full details of all our current roles please visit www.futurestalbans.co.uk All posts are subject to a Basic Disclosure Check. We are an Equal Opportunities Employer.

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SWITCHING SECTORS

MOVING UP As housebuilding and infrastructure booms are in the offing, the planning profession could be on the verge of something big. The Planner’s features editor Simon Wicks takes a look at some of the issues to consider when preparing your next career step

I

t may sometimes seem that you just can’t win if you’re a planner. Recommend refusal of a controversial scheme and you’re accused of holding back necessary development. Give the go-ahead and you’re blighting the landscape. If you’ve planned a scheme that proves popular, it’s politicians, architects and developers who get the plaudits. Planners around the UK and Ireland are having to accommodate substantial changes to their planning systems. In Northern Ireland planning powers are about to be transferred to local authorities, and Wales, too, is debating local government reorganisation. Scotland is pressing for greater spending and administrative powers. In England, planners have had to adjust to the National Planning and Policy Framework (NPPF), the community infrastructure levy (CIL) and the emergence of ‘localism’. Significant reforms to the system in Ireland have also been tabled. On top of this, local authority planners everywhere have had to contend with stiffer performance targets and austerity measures which, according to the UK National Audit Office, have seen planning department budgets slashed by almost a half since 2010. Meanwhile we have a housing shortage, high shop vacancy rates in town centres, fraying infrastructure everywhere and a worsening NorthSouth economic divide in England.

6

Who’d be a planner, eh? At the RTPI’s Young Planners Conference in late 2014, the TCPA’s head of policy, Hugh Ellis, said we could be about to enter a “golden age of planning”. Why would he say such a thing? Well, if we are to build the housing and infrastructure the nation needs, we will need planners – lots of them. We’ll need them in local authorities, in housing associations and development corporations, in private consultancies and property developers, in policy teams, advisory bodies and think tanks.

The push for housing Housing is the single biggest factor that will influence planning recruitment in the UK this year. Experts agree that as a nation we need to build 240,000 houses a year for the next 20 years. The national debate has moved beyond ‘What?’ and is focusing on ‘How?’ and ‘Where?’ Should we infill on brownfield sites in

“BEFORE THE RECESSION RETAIL WAS WHAT EVERYONE WANTED, BUT NOW IT’S HOUSING AND IT NEEDS A VERY SPECIFIC SKILL SET”

urban areas? Should we push into green belt? Should we build new towns or urban extensions? Who should take the lead in assembling land, masterplanning and ensuring that obligations are met – local authorities, private developers or urban development corporations? We’re likely to end up with a mix of all of the above. But such a large national project will require planners with the skills to plot routes through the forest of policy and opinion and set in motion such large and complex projects as Ebbsfleet and Bicester. “Residential is the big area for us at the moment,” says Kirsty Hall of built environment recruiter KDH Associates. “Before the recession retail was what everyone wanted, but now it’s housing and it needs a very specific skill set. It’s people who have experience of largescale, contentious schemes, particularly where they have complicated affordable housing arrangements.” But how do we square the desire to build more houses with cuts to planning departments? Developers themselves are beginning to protest against the lack of resources in planning departments. Housing development, in particular, is a partnership between public and private sectors –and public sector planners are a must. The big developers are also saying that they can’t meet the nation’s housing targets by themselves because that

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“DEVELOPERS, FUNDS INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS – THEY ARE SEEING THE VALUE IN HAVING THEIR OWN PLANNERS” Meanwhile, the council has turned developer, creating the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust to deliver some of the housing the city needs. What’s been created in the city is a dynamic, streamlined planning department with a strong focus on partnership and growth, in which enterprising thinkers are likely to flourish. Could this be the new direction of planning departments? would require them to double their output. Other players have to come into the market – from small builders to housing associations. Local authorities, too – and some, such as Wandsworth and Enfield, are reversing a long-term trend and building houses once again.

How to adapt? UK local authority planning departments are facing considerable pressure. Where are planning teams going to get their funding from if their authorities are required to implement further budget cuts, as is the case under the current government's plans? In Bristol, planning director Zoe Willcox told a conference her team relied on fees from planning applications. This clearly is not sustainable. In Birmingham, planning director Waheed Nazir restructured his department when his budget was cut by 40 per cent. He did it by collapsing the barriers between planning control, regeneration and economic development to create multidisciplinary teams with responsibility for different parts of the city. Nazir also initiated the Big City Plan, a 20-year programme to effectively remodel Birmingham centre based on building much closer working relationships between the public and private sectors. This in turn has cut the percentage of planning applications that go to appeal to 3 per cent only.

Urban renewal Hall notes that urban growth outside of London is a developing trend, and observes that many of her private sector clients are expanding their operations in other UK cities. “Some of my clients are looking outside of London for their next growth opportunities – Birmingham and Bristol in particular.” We’re also seeing major urban renewal in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and schemes are proposed for Belfast and Cardiff. There is replacement and expansion of commercial space, development of new urban realm. Urban transport, too, is undergoing a renaissance, with urban designers looking to Europe for inspiration to help them create ‘liveable’ spaces where walking, cycling and public transport take precedence over private cars. London leads the way with its Crossrail schemes and the accompanying continental-style redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road. Then there are its cycle superhighways, which have inspired similar schemes in Newcastle and Leeds. Bristol, too, is looking outwards for inspiration and in February 2015 the city’s mayor, George Ferguson, announced talks with Cardiff and Newport about creating a south-west ‘super city’, saying: “I think cities throughout the world are dealing with each other

directly, and bypassing national and sub-national governments.” With discussion in the UK focusing on devolution, we may be on the verge of a new age of city living. Our growing desire for ‘healthy’ cities, ‘liveable’ cities and ‘smart’ cities could see us transforming urban environments in the coming decades. For urban designers, there could be boom times ahead. But also health planners, transport specialists, regeneration experts, and so on.

The infrastructure investment Our urban infrastructure will need to be supported by improved intra-urban infrastructure – new connections linking cities and towns into so-called city regions to help generate a degree of economic activity to rival the commercial dominance of London. HS2 and the mooted HS3 will be multi-billion pound schemes that will keep transport planners, policymakers and lawyers in business for decades. Alongside these we’re seeing a reconfiguration of our energy supply, with a greater leaning towards renewables. Wind and wave power, though occasionally controversial, are attracting significant investment for sizeable schemes, particularly in Wales and Scotland. Solar farms are appearing in greater numbers; Hinkley Point C heralds a new age of nuclear power, and then there is fracking. The energy mix is changing – and planners are at the heart of deciding how we create energy security for the 21st century. But it’s not just the local authorities and the private consultancies that will require planners to shape and manage the growing array of infrastructure schemes across the UK. “One of the things we’re finding is that there are more client-side roles,” says Hall. “Developers, funds institutional investors – they are seeing the value in having their own planners." Does a golden age of planning loom? Certainly, the national debate about land use has rarely been so intense. Soon planners may find themselves at the centre of national life in a way unseen since the new town movement of the 1960s and 70s.

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CAREER DEVELOPMENT

WHERE IS PLANNING GOING? WHAT ARE THE LARGER FORCES THAT ARE SHAPING PLANNING AS A PROFESSION? IT’S WORTH THINKING ABOUT HOW THE FOLLOWING MIGHT AFFECT YOUR CAREER CHOICES

Demography

New communities

The UK’s population is expected to reach 75 million by 2035, with more than a quarter of us aged over 65 by 2061. Expect more, but smaller, households and increased consumption of resources and infrastructure. Ageing populations are less mobile and may require specialised housing, with retail, leisure and health facilities closer to home. Planners' responses to these challenges will help 'future-proof' our 21st century societies.

Experts predict that the UK will need to build 240,000 new homes a year for 20 years to accommodate our growing population. The next decade will see densification and infill in towns and cities, but also large-scale developments that range from urban extensions to complete new towns. Planners with the skills to envision, plan and deliver new communities will be essential.

n RTPI research: Future-proofing society (PDF) www.bit.ly/1CvwaIU

MORE THAN A QUARTER OF US WILL BE OVER 65 BY 2061

housing (PDF) www.bit.ly/1wuXEYX

240,000 NEW HOMES A YEAR FOR 20 YEARS

Urban renewal

Economic growth

More people worldwide live in urban areas than elsewhere. Cities across the globe are seeking to create ‘liveable’ environments. With space at a premium, compact homes may be the future, with healthy living enshrined in low-energy transport, walking and cycling, easy access to work, shops, leisure, health services and green spaces. Cities are also the focus of debates about public vs private ownership, socially inclusive societies and the wealth divide. Planners will be decisive in striking the right balance.

Attractive, accessible, connected places attract the people and investment that underpin healthy economies. Planners are in a position to advise policymakers, decision-makers and communities on the qualities of places that can be built on to create economically successful places. Sustainability is the approach here – planning communities that are able to anticipate and adapt to broader technological and social changes.

n RTPI research: Promoting healthy cities

n RTPI research: Creating economically

(PDF) www.bit.ly/1sXaJJC

n RTPI policy paper: Fostering growth (PDF) www.bit.ly/1DFSBrY successful places (PDF) www.bit.ly/1C0ZXXb

Transport

Climate change

The UK is engaged in huge transport construction schemes. Crossrail will change the face of swathes of London. The debate about HS2 rumbles on, and the chancellor has mooted HS3 to underpin a new ‘northern powerhouse’. ‘Smart’ motorways are becoming the norm. Healthy city policies promote walking and cycling infrastructure, alongside improved public transport. Forward-thinking transport planning and joined-up decision making will knit together the cities and city regions of the future, and reflect our changing priorities in work and leisure.

n RTPI policy paper: Capturing the wider benefits

The damage and disruption caused by storms and floods in 2013-14 may well become the norm unless we improve our defences, appraise our approaches to building in vulnerable areas, and integrate flood mitigation into new developments. Climate change is also driving a transformation of the UK’s energy supply, with less reliance on fossil fuels and greater investment in renewables. Environmental resilience has become a key element of planning, and planners are at the centre of debates about how best to protect ourselves from the effects of climate change through the choices we make about infrastructure and land use.

of investment in transport infrastructure (PDF) www.bit.ly/1qpCtSx

n RTPI research: Future-proofing society (PDF) www.bit.ly/1CvwaIU

Governance

Policy for places

Localism and devolution are the watchwords for planners in a changing political landscape. The UK government is committed to giving people a greater say over how their area develops and, to date, some 1,200 communities in England have initiated neighbourhood plans. As more do so, the need for professional facilitation will increase – as will the need for more inspectors. At regional and national levels, devolution will bring substantial change to the landscape in which planners operate – if it takes the form the regions themselves would like. This gives planners more opportunities to influence placemaking in a world of greater political autonomy (Scotland), larger regional governments (Wales and Northern Ireland) and city regions (UK-wide).

Our political relationship with our regions may be on the point of change, and with it our sense of place. If power and decision-making is genuinely devolved down to regions, cities and communities, planners will have a rare opportunity to lead the policymaking that will help to create the kinds of places we want to live in. Planners have the skills, knowledge and long-term outlook to create places that can accommodate the challenges of the present and the future. But do you have the confidence to take a leading role?

n RTPI research: Making better decisions for places (PDF) www.bit.ly/1DtijBU

8

n RTPI policy paper: Delivering large scale

THE UK WILL NEED TO BUILD

n RTPI policy paper: Strategic planning – Effective cooperation for planning across boundaries www.bit.ly/16Acfu4 n RTPI research: Thinking spatially – Why places need to be at the heart of policymaking in the 21st century www.bit.ly/1CI3Xi0

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SWITCHING SECTORS

Picking the right path

A

planner starting out on a career must an employer’s values. They also need to be self-starters, as make some interesting choices. Do planners tend to be members of small teams in this area. you adhere to the well-trodden route Planners considering careers in academia need into local government where it is the to show they have the intellectual curiosity and traditional view that you will receive a enthusiasm for research. Academics are often at the thorough grounding in the main disciplines? cutting edge of thinking about planning and can influence Many graduate planners take this road and do very practitioners through publications and advisory bodies. well. Most people agree that local authorities also offer Academic planners will often practice in tandem with chances for progression and professional development. teaching and research. Teaching is a critical part of the role, Professional planners can, of course, move in and out so experience of working with young people would be an of the public sector during their career, which may advantage. take in private or third sector involvement, or even Planning is as diverse as the society that planners work an academic role. It can only be a good thing for a in and presents ambitious practitioners with chances to planner’s career if they have worked across different explore every aspect of planning, developing, conserving and sectors and even planning disciplines. regenerating the built environment. It’s unusual to start your career with a private consultancy, but not unheard of. Working in private practice Find out more: requires an acumen for the financial side of the business. Access the RTPI’s professional networks to meet planners in similar fields and share best practice: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/networks/ This is usually gained by working for a consultancy, but local authority planners may also be involved in managing their own Find your local RTPI branch: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/the-rtpi-near-you/ cost centres and delivering value for money. It’s also possible to get experience on a study placement or internship. Third sector planners must profile at Eversheds. environment is at the also have a head for finance, Andrews has been more commercial end as the spending of charities Using your planning “It has been a very practising for 20 years of planning practice. and social enterprises can be knowledge and skills successful outcome for in this dual role, and A planner’s CV will heavily scrutinised by funders. in a law firm can be a me, and rewarding in has worked on a wide need to show a good There is less drive to generate lucrative option. Stuart every sense,” he says. range of projects. This range of qualifications, revenue and more to spend Andrews, who leads He is dual-qualified experience has been and some experience money wisely; third sector the national planning in planning and law, much broader than he working for a law firm. planners are often involved team at Eversheds, (completing a diploma would have had as a It is also vital to in environment, heritage and says the financial in law after his town planning consultant. “have something to conservation, and sensitivity to rewards are much planning degree), Law firms are more say for yourself”, says higher than he ever and is one of three financially focused Andrews, to hold your these elements is a necessity. expected to achieve as professionals with the than a planning own in a demanding Planners in the charitable a trainee planner. same qualification consultant, so the work setting. sector must show they embrace

Working for a law firm

10

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of RTPI members are local authority planners *

MOVING INTO...

a local authority What is it? Local government is regarded as the traditional place to start a planning career and get the best grounding possible in all the disciplines. Most planning applications are determined by local councils, with elected councillors making the decisions in some cases, depending on the size of the development. Local authorities also oversee the direction of development in their area by creating local plans and assembling land for development. Increasingly, they are taking on a development role themselves. Local authorities are at the heart of planning in the UK and Ireland.

* SOURCE: RTPI MEMBER SURVEY, JANUARY 2014

What are public sector employers looking for? To be a successful planner with a local authority you need to have set of skills to help you cope with the challenges and workload, says Annabel Osborne, a planning officer with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in London. Adaptability is also key – Osborne currently works in development management, but would like to move into enforcement or planning policy in the future. n People skills/Communication skills Good people skills are very important because of the variety of different people you meet as a council planner – from councillors and agents to members of the public, she says. “You are the main point of call for members of the public, and there is a variety of different needs and desires.” n Empathy Being able to empathise with people is an important element of working in

a local authority, as the role involves helping people negotiate the intricacies of the planning process. When working with agents as well, it is very important to understand where they are coming from. “When refusing an application I offer agents an opportunity to seek additional advice rather than just saying ‘no’,” says Osborne.

Essential skills n Confident in speaking and writing Being articulate in both verbal and written ways is a key attribute, says Osborne. Good report writing ability is an important part of the job. Having the confidence to defend any decision you have made as a planner is important if you are challenged to justify it, Osborne explains. “In

CV/application form highlights Local authorities don’t usually invite a curriculum vitae with job applications, instead preferring forms which ask for personal attributes. Applicants need to make sure their skills match the job specification. “It’s about giving examples of behaviours rather than just quoting projects that you’ve worked on,” Osborne says. n Get involved with local RTPI planning committee to make contacts and show you are committed to the profession n Focus on how you developed as a planner and learnt new skills instead of listing achievements.

Kensington and Chelsea residents are quite active and knowledgeable – there are quite a lot of planning barristers living in the area!” n Being organised Good organisational skills and attention to detail are the principles which Osborne uses to arrange her workload, with between 30-40 applications to deal with at any one time. Osborne warns against being disorganised. “If you are firefighting all the time then you are not allowing yourself time to consider an application. “I write a ‘to do’ list every day and, for example, always arrange a site visit within a week of an application being submitted,” she says. n Passionate yet impartial You need to be passionate about the built environment, as it can be a challenging job working in a council planning department, but also very rewarding, she says. It is imperative that you of course remain impartial at all times. “You have to balance the wants and needs of stakeholders involved in the process,” says Osborne.

Types of roles available Roles in local authority planning departments vary from council to council, but there some common ones. Officers oversee development management, enforcement, planning obligations, policy, appeals, conservation and design. In Kensington & Chelsea’s planning division four area teams work with all the disciplines. “Some of the common skills are similar in terms of personal attributes, but are quite different on a day-to-day basis,” says Osborne.

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22%

RTPI members work for local (8%), national (9%) or international consultancies (5%). 5% work for development companies *

MOVING INTO...

the private sector What is it? There are many consultancies specialising in planning work, including some large multidisciplinary ones which offer good opportunities for planners. Private practices work to help both private and public sector clients achieve their goals. That could mean developing master plans for big new developments, carrying out research to support local authorities in developing their local plans or assisting a developer to secure planning approval for a scheme. Overall, private sector work is incredibly varied – a strong lure for both young and more experienced planners. This was the case for Jennifer Angus, a graduate planner with GVA in Bristol. “A lot of junior planners decide to go into the private sector because they feel there will be diverse workload and the environment will be dynamic and fast-paced,” she says.“My natural comfort zone would have been the public sector, but I could see the attraction of the private sector. The real benefit is exposure to different sectors and clients.”

What are private sector employers looking for? n Commercial acumen Consultancies want to see a planner show they have strong awareness of the commercial side of their work, from an awareness of costs accruing at each stage of the process to the importance of bringing in and retaining business. They usually recruit planners who have worked for other private firms because they know these candidates have the necessary business acumen. It can be

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difficult to make the transition from public to private work because of this need to demonstrate a good appreciation of the commercial dimension. n Building client relationships Planners in the sector must be able to create a strong working relationship with their employer’s clients, to anticipate client needs and extend existing relationships or build new ones.. n Confidence It is a customer-facing role and requires people who are as comfortable working with senior executives as they are with members of the public. n Community engagement While you'll be negotiating with the local authority, you'll also need to be community.-minded, seeking solutions that work in the best public interest.

tend to specialise in one function, usually development management or policy. The private sector can offer the opportunity to work across these functions, however, if you choose the right company that has a range of clients. But some consultancies are very specialised and if you know what you want to do, then you should go for one of them,” she says. Private consultancies can offer a clear progression for planners, starting with graduate roles and going up to senior and principal planner roles, perhaps with responsibility for managing teams. Beyond this, planners can become associate directors and directors, with business planning functions. Private sector planners can build careers that take them into a range of roles and types of consultancy. One in 10 become self-employed.

Essential skills n Results focused Planners working in the private sector have to push to achieve results for their clients that are acceptable in planning terms. That often means finding the middle ground in contested situations and can require strong negotiation skills. n Technical competence A high level of technical expertise will be expected from any planner working in the private sector, which often leads to the development of a specialism.

Types of roles available Most of the planning disciplines will be available within the private sector, with chances to specialise in transport, retail, regeneration or environmental planning. Angus says: “In local authorities you

CV/application form highlights n Emphasise technical expertise that makes you a valuable resource. n Show you have a strong awareness of the commercial aspects of private work. n Prove you are a good communicator. n A willingness to work hard and sometimes outside of normal hours should feature prominently, as should an enthusiasm for the area of work. n Major on any experience you have in the private sector in a placement or internship, whether paid or unpaid. n Prove you are well organised, selfdisciplined and a self-starter. n Make yourself as marketable as possible.

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3%

SWITCHING SECTORS of RTPI members work for charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and housing associations *

MOVING INTO...

the third sector What is it? The ‘third sector’ encompasses a wide range of non-profit-making, nongovernmental organisations that have an interest in land use and the built environment. They range from housing associations and charities (such as Shelter), to environmental charities (such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and social enterprises providing regeneration support (such as SKINN in Sheffield). All require the skills and knowledge that planners possess.

* SOURCE: RTPI MEMBER SURVEY, JANUARY 2014

What are third sector employers looking for? n Outlook An understanding of the organisation’s social purpose and a sympathy with its aims and ethics are highly desirable. Those working in the third sector tend to be motivated as much by a sense of social ‘good’ as by a desire to build their career. n Character “It is not necessarily an in-depth knowledge of an area that I am looking for, but the right approach and attitude,”

CV/application form highlights n Give examples of broad experience outside planning n Demonstrate your understanding of the organisation’s social purpose n Emphasise your willingness to go the extra mile and to learn new skills.

says David Ames, head of heritage and strategic planning at Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. “That’s the thing I would be looking at the most.” Third sector planning jobs are usually set in small teams, and often the planner has to be prepared to be the ‘go to’ person for a particular project, Ames explains. Thus, someone who is keen to develop knowledge under their own initiative will have the best chance of success. Beyond this, Ames would expect to see candidates with a good range of experience and a “reasonably rounded background”.

Essential skills n Broad understanding of planning and key planning concepts A grasp of the various types of planning is an essential quality, Ames says, as it helps to know what pressures other planners are under. For example, if you know what are the considerations a local authority planner has to take into account, then you will be better able to work with them effectively. Likewise, it helps to have some specific knowledge of the field you are moving into – Ames cites knowledge of freehold and leasehold contracts as essential to his role. n Research An ability to search out answers is a pre-requisite for a third sector planner. “In local authorities there will be someone to ask, but in our area you have to be more proactive,” says Ames. n Relationship-building Being able to build strong working relationships is a major part of the role. Trustees, who are local volunteers and passionate about their community,

represent a key relationship in the same way councillors in a local authority are. There is a significant amount of community engagement, working with community groups, and planners need to be comfortable helping with this, he says. n Openness to learning new skills Multi-disciplinary experience is not something Ames would expect to see at an interview, but being prepared to work on it, again, is important. Ames’ role encompasses the museums service and a large collection archive, as well as strategic planning and viability, so an ability to take on multi-disciplinary tasks is crucial. “I supplemented my education by doing a surveying degree. I felt there was a gap [in knowledge] when I was sitting in meetings,” Ames says. He says planning courses are quite wide ranging now, which helps planners to grasp the multi-disciplinary dimension of work in the third sector. n Financial astuteness “At the Letchworth Heritage Foundation we reinvest our income, and in order to do that we need a reasonable return whilst preserving our objectives for the town. So we need planners who are not hell-bent on squeezing every last penny out of a scheme, and still maintain the heritage,” Ames says.

Types of roles available Third sector organisations provide planners with a choice of roles, from development management to strategic planning and conservation – and you may have to wear several hats. Some planners develop involvement in the commercial aspects of a third sector organisation’s work, as viability issues have to be considered. The Letchworth foundation recently appointed an officer from a local authority with conservation experience, to help with listed building restorations.

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SWITCHING SECTORS

3%

of RTPI members work in the university sector. 4% contribute to academic planning research *

MOVING INTO...

What is it? Planners working in the academic world can perform groundbreaking research and teaching roles in universities and colleges. They are usually required to lecture and teach students, while they have opportunities to carry out research in areas they are interested in. They may provide thought leadership to other planners through publications, conference presentations and roles as advisors to public, private or statutory bodies. Top academics sometimes sit on government committees and other bodies looking at issues affecting the built environment. Some double up as private practitioners as well. Robin Hambleton, who is professor of city leadership at the University of the West of England, believes it is good to develop a career that has crossed between different sectors. He worked in different local and central government roles before becoming an academic.

What are academic employers looking for? n Curiosity An intellectual curiosity about cities and city planning is necessary for any budding academic, and university employers will be looking for strong evidence of that. Someone who really cares about the subject often has the qualities needed. “You need a real enthusiasm and passion for trying to understand why things are the way they are,” says Hambleton.

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n A desire to make a difference A commitment to see planners making a real difference to the way the world develops, is another essential ingredient for a successful academic planner. n Teaching skills A desire to want to help young people is important as academic planners will interact with students in lecturing and teaching roles. An aptitude for teaching will make an academic planner effective in their role within higher education.

Essential skills n A global perspective on planning A real interest in international issues and trends has become more much more important in recent years. n Understanding of diversity It is vital that planners understand the mixture of people in the populations where they are working, whether their differences are age, gender, culture or physical ability. Academics can help colleague planners in other sectors grapple with difference within the local community. n Able to cope with new demands As the world changes, it is important that talented planners who are able to adapt, and also produce new ideas and fresh thinking, become academics.

Types of roles available (1) A career centred on academic research is one option. It will start with a research assistant position, followed by associate, fellow and professor levels.

CV/application form highlights n Headline with any part-time lecturing you have done. Don’t hesitate to approach your local university if you don’t have this under your belt and see if you can get involved in some way. n Show evidence of working with young people and of empathy with them. Highlight any volunteering you have done with a charity helping young people. n Illustrate your desire to investigate new things and come forward with your own thoughts. n Be able and willing to switch between planning practice and academia more than once – it makes you a stronger planner and academic. n Demonstrate an understanding of politics and power structures. Have an awareness of who is making the decisions that affect planning.

* SOURCE: RTPI MEMBER SURVEY, JANUARY 2014

academia

Hambleton explains that it may take 20 years to follow this path through to becoming a professor, with your audience being mainly an academic one. (2) A second option is to focus on teaching and become a lecturer. The career progression along this route is to senior lecturer, professor and head of department. “Good researchers are interested in teaching and good teachers are interested in research,” Hambleton says. (3) The third main career path is into management or administration within a college or university. In this role you would run courses, and administer a programme of teaching. There are jobs as assistant head and head of department, as well as associate dean, dean, vicechancellor and ultimately chancellor.

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CAREERS

PLANNING IN NUMBERS IN JANUARY 2014, THE RTPI PUBLISHED THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY OF 5,718 INSTITUTE MEMBERS*. THE RESULTS GAVE US A SNAPSHOT OF THE PROFESSION IN THE 21ST CENTURY

1/3

EMPLOYMENT PATTERNS ARE CHANGING BECAUSE OF THE INFLUENCES PLAYING ON PLANNING AS A PROFESSION (SEE PAGES 6­8). BUT IN JANUARY 2014, RTPI MEMBERS WORKED IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

OF THE INSTITUTE’S MEMBERS ARE WOMEN.

REGENERATION

21%

21%

HOUSING 10%

2% IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Scotland

Northern Ireland

UNITED KINGDOM IRELAND England Wales

77%

IN SCOTLAND

MORE THAN THREE IN FOUR RTPI MEMBERS ARE IN ENGLAND

53%

DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT OR CONTROL

6%

RENEWABLES

1% IN IRELAND

5% IN WALES

5%

PLANNING POLICY

7% TRANSPORT PLANNING

1%

4% PLANNING

LIVE AND WORK OUTSIDE THE UK AND IRELAND.

48% LOCAL

HEALTH

RESEARCH (ACADEMIC)

18%

HERITAGE AND CONSERVATION

8% MINERALS

AND WASTE

6­10 15%

£

£35­55K

MORE CHARTERED RTPI MEMBERS EARN £35­55,000+ THAN NON­CHARTERED MEMBERS.

30 YEARS 27% OF MEMBERS HAVE MORE THAN 30 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE IN PLANNING. THE NEXT LARGEST PORTION IS 18%, FOR PLANNERS OF 6­10 YEARS’ DURATION.

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING

3%

CONSTRUCTION Read the summary results of the member survey: http://bit.ly/1DhAavq

26%

URBAN PLANNING

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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

which allows for holiday and sick pay and to cover the shorter-term nature and the occasional uncertainty of a contracting lifestyle. Recently, we have found that contracting has become a very sustainable and flexible option for planners who are seeking a change because of the increase in work available across the UK.

CLIENT SIDE These planners are renowned to be the highest paid in the market on their package as a whole. The salaries are generally similar to the private sector, although senior levels can be exceptionally high with bonuses related to company and individual performance being up to 50 per cent of your salary.

Salary and benefits – are you getting enough? IT’S THAT QUINTESSENTIAL BRITISH THING TO AVOID TALKING ABOUT – MONEY. INAPPROPRIATE OR CRUDE, IN THE WORKPLACE IT IS SOMETHING MOST DON’T KNOW HOW TO APPROACH – BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU STAND? RICHARD HARRIS, DIVISIONAL MANAGER AT OYSTER PARTNERSHIP, PRESENTS A GUIDE TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR VALUE AND THE MARKET

CONSULTANCIES From our experience we have found that salaries and packages obviously vary between consultancies. We have displayed below a working average of basic salaries (including car allowances). This is specifically for London, but allowing for London weighting – regionally you would expect 10-20 per cent less than these figures dependent on the area (see panel, right). In addition to this, benefits packages vary but typically can include a pension (usually 2-8 per cent), healthcare, Season Ticket Loan, Life Assurance, performance and discretionary bonuses (up to 25 per cent the more senior you become) and sometimes a phone/laptop.

PUBLIC SECTOR Local authority planners generally tend to be paid a higher basic salary compared with the private sector, especially in the early years of their career. This is in part

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TYPICAL SALARY OR PACKAGE Graduate/ Assistant Town Planner

£22,000 to £27,500

Town Planner (usually Chartered)

£26,000 to £40,000

Senior Town Planner

£35,000 to £45,000

Principal Town Planner

£42,000 to £50,000

Associate Planner/ Associate Director

£48,000 to £70,000

Director of Planning

£70,000 to £100,000+

to compensate for the lack of a “package” that planners in the other sectors would typically receive. As a governmental organisation, LPA planners would get a standard pension of somewhere between 2-5 per cent and in addition other benefits can include free/reduced transport costs such as transport cards. Temporary planners will be paid above market rate when equated into salary,

TARGETS AND YOUR SALARY Relevant primarily to the private sector, it is generally accepted that your basic salary is linked to your target. Although consultancies and developers do vary on this, it is common to find that from senior planner level upwards, the expectation is to bill two to three times your salary on an annual basis. Therefore – if you expect a higher salary, you can expect a higher target.

PAY RISE? Having considered the market averages and the value that you add to your team and organisation, if you still feel undervalued in the level of your remuneration then it is always best to address the situation than remain unhappy in your role. In your annual performance review or at an appropriate meeting, explain to your boss your reasons for wanting a pay rise. Please beware that as mentioned above this could in turn increase your target. SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT COULD BE: n Are there pay structures in your organisation? When was your last raise? Focus on selling your benefits and worth, rather than complaining about the situation n Timing is key – have they won or lost projects recently? Are they doing well? n Be realistic – however good you may be, each sector is likely to only pay market rate.

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Unsure of your worth? Thinking about a move? Looking for some advice? Get in touch with one of our Town Planning specialists today. 020 7766 9000 |

Kate Peers-McQueen Private Sector Permanent – North kate.peers@oysterpartnership.com Lauren Edwards Private Sector Permanent – London lauren.edwards@oysterpartnership.com Richard Harris Divisional Manager Public Sector Contract – South East richard.harris@oysterpartnership.com Emilia Fasano Public Sector Contract – South West emilia.fasano@oysterpartnership.com Farid Ahmed Public Sector Contract – Midlands farid.ahmed@oysterpartnership.com

www.oysterpartnership.com

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ESSENTIAL SOFT SKILLS

8 GREAT WAYS

TO GET AHEAD IN PLANNING

Professional planning is a highly competitive arena. But by developing your soft skills – and with a game plan up your sleeves – you can go far. To succeed, you’ll need to make sure your job-hunting collateral is up to date — including your CV, a portfolio and social media profiles. It’s also worth brushing up on transferable skills such as presenting and negotiating. Above all, writes Rachel Miller, keep learning and developing to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction, whichever sector in which you want to make your mark.

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Put together a portfolio

A good portfolio can help you stand out in a crowded jobs market. It demonstrates both your professionalism and your pride in your work. However, there are some important do’s and don’ts:

Do ✔ Highlight projects that best show your suitability for the job you are applying for ✔ Be specific about your role – most projects are a team effort ✔ Create a PDF of your portfolio so you can send it with online job applications

"MORE CANDIDATES ARE SUBMITTING PORTFOLIOS WITH THEIR CVS WHEN APPLYING FOR POSITIONS. THEY CERTAINLY GRAB MY ATTENTION… AND THEY’LL OFTEN BE THE FIRST WE CALL TO DISCUSS THE ROLE" Kirsty Hall, founder of property recruitment consultancy KDH Associates

Don’t ✘ Overdo the explanatory text – talk about details at interview ✘ Throw your portfolio together; give it a consistent look and a logical order.

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About creating a portfolio: http://bit. ly/1z7wyas

Standing up in a packed council chamber or pitching to potential clients is daunting. With the right preparation, you can calm your nerves and improve your performance. Developing the skills to make a persuasive pitch or lead a debate can take you a long way in your career — not least because others often lack these abilities. There are five golden rules when it comes to presentations:

(1) Set objectives

as you build your case.

Establish goals and back up points with supporting evidence.

(3) Start strong

Focus on two or three key messages and explain your point of view from the start so you keep your audience engaged

Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter offer opportunities to reach out to an active community of planners, architects, designers, environmentalists, builders, journalists, academics, policy-makers, campaigners – and, of course, potential employers and business partners. Your online profile and your posts can build your reputation within the planning industry. At the same time, by being active on social media you can keep up to date with industry news and views.

You don’t have to be on every social media site but LinkedIn is essential — it’s the place where professionals go to make connections. It’s also a key tool in professional recruitment – your CV and your activity on LinkedIn are likely to be scrutinised by potential employers.

Find out more About Twitter: http://bit.ly/1zVYdOe About using LinkedIn: http://bit. ly/16TdWTO

Find out more

Polish your presentations

(2) Create a structure

2

Improve your online networking

Aim to grab the attention of your audience and keep it. Try starting with a quotation, a question or a personal example.

(4) Practice Film yourself making the speech beforehand to

Best practice on social media n n n n n n n n n n

Keep your profile up to date Check in regularly Keep it professional Listen and respond, don’t just talk Share useful content Target specific audiences Follow thought-leaders Join professional groups online Check out potential new jobs Build up endorsements and recommendations

improve your delivery - smart phones mean it's never been easier to do this. See where you can pause for effect or vary your tone to avoid monotony.

on reading out your speech word for word. What’s more, with the right level of practice you’ll be able to handle questions with confidence.

(5) Do your homework

Find out more

You can never be too prepared. If you know your stuff, you won’t have to rely

About improving your presenting skills: http://bit.ly/1AXxd3Q

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ESSENTIAL SOFT SKILLS

5 4

Produce wellwritten reports

Writing reports may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are grist to the mill for professional planners. Planning reports are often read by many interested parties, not all of them professionals, so although they need to be technically accurate, they should be free of unnecessary jargon. A lively writing style helps, but the key requirements for a well-written report are a sound framework and clear analysis. Define your objectives and your audience before you put pen to paper. If your report-writing skills could do with improvement follow these five guidelines:

(1) Do your research Speak to as many stakeholders as possible and, if necessary, make enquiries to research bodies and professional associations.

(2) Structure your report Include a title page, a contents page, an introduction, the body of the report and a conclusion with your recommendations. Don’t forget to include references and an appendix.

"KEY REQUIREMENTS FOR A WELL­ WRITTEN REPORT ARE A SOUND FRAMEWORK AND CLEAR ANALYSIS. DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES AND YOUR AUDIENCE BEFORE YOU PUT PEN TO PAPER"

(3) Organise your team Most reports are a collaborative effort. Establish areas of responsibility, agree a structure and style and create a schedule.

(4) Write your executive summary last An executive summary should include: the scope and purpose of the report, methods used, and results and recommendations. Write this last so it’s an accurate summary of the entire report.

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(5) Go easy on your readers Use bullet points, boxed out text, pullout quotes and signposting to make your report more accessible. Don’t be afraid to include white space. Break up text with photos, maps, graphs and graphics.

Find out more About how to write a sharp report: http://bit.ly/1vExPdc

Become a better negotiator

Every planning professional needs to master the art of negotiation. Planners are often passionate about doing the right thing but passion alone doesn’t always win the day. The best approach is to look at negotiation as a form of collaboration – it’s about finding the right solution for both sides. Of course, planners have a set of rules that they have to follow. But simply stating your position is often a non-starter; it means that there can only be a winner and a loser and compromise is off the table. If you’re prepared to explore different solutions

together, there’s a higher chance that you can meet everyone’s needs. If the other party refuses to budge, don’t take it personally; even if the language they use might be personal. Keep everyone informed of the reasons for your decisions and don’t complain if someone goes to their democratically elected representative and asks for help – it’s all part of the system.

Find out more About negotiation skills for planners: http://bit. ly/1AbLdY0

Tips for better negotiating (1) Listen and understand the interests of everyone involved (2) Explore options that could satisfy both sides (3) Keep your stakeholders in the loop (4) Don’t take it personally

6

Set up as an independent

Consultancy can be an attractive proposition. You get to focus on your specialism, run things your way and work to your own timetable. However, the hours can be long and it adds an element of uncertainty that you’ll have to be able to live with. If you’re sure that going it alone is right for you, you’ll need to think like an entrepreneur. The first step is to create a

business plan. It’s worth finding an accountant in the early stages so they can guide you. You’ll need to consider where to work. A home office is costeffective, but it may not be a suitable place to meet clients. Managing your time is a big part of being your own boss. Make time for prospecting to ensure that there’s a steady flow of work. But don’t forget that the most powerful form of

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7

Turbo-charge your CV n It flags up your professional credentials. If you achieved your RTPI or RICS at the first attempt, say so. If you are still a licentiate member, state your target submission date. n It includes excellent referees.

Your CV has to work hard. It is more than a record of employment; it’s a sales tool and it should have to power to persuade.

So what does a good CV look like? n It’s tailored to each new application. Look at the job specification and make sure your CV reflects (honestly) your strengths in those areas. n It’s clean, simple, and well laid-out. n There are no gaps. Explain your moves if you’ve had a lot of jobs; don’t leave anything out. n There are clear signs of progression. If you’ve been in the same place for a long time, demonstrate how your role has developed. n It is value-added. Don’t just say what you did but specify what you achieved.

promotion is word-of-mouth recommendation. Do remember to keep up with professional development; it’s a requirement for RPTI members. You can also raise your profile through events and publications. Finally, money. There are three types of fee: time-based, lumpsum contracts and ad valorum

If you are just starting out, it can be hard to make your CV look good. Always flag up all any real-world experience such as internships, volunteering or a relevant academic project. While you are job-hunting, keep active in the industry; mention your attendance at planning events on your CV as well.

Find out more Read about preparing your portfolio and CV - with advice from planners about their own: http://bit.ly/1z7wyas

contracts (such as a fee formula). Find the right fee structure for your needs, keep your rates competitive and make sure you are making a reasonable profit.

Find out more RTPI advice about becoming an independent consultant: http://bit.ly/1zA7Jmx

8

Perfect your public speaking

Public speaking – addressing an audience, pitching a plan to a client or running a debate in council chambers – is nerve-shredding to many. You might not find your inner Stephen Fry, but it is an important skill to add to your armoury. Persuading others to share your vision, even though they may be diametrically opposed to it, requires skills that need to be learned and developed. You can build your abilities by:

(1) Be note-perfect Know the facts of your case – the bedrock of being confident. And familiarise yourself with the contrary arguments.

"IMPROVISATION WITH NOTES AND GRAPHICS IS OFTEN A MORE LIVELY WAY TO DELIVER YOUR POINTS AND ALLOWS YOU TO MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE"

(2) Brevity is the soul of wit Grab your audience’s attention with a clear breakdown of information into sections. Keep to the point, linking all your supporting evidence to it.

(3) Be credible Create a narrative. Mould the subject to your audience, maybe with anecdotes to illustrate dry facts and statistics. Make the audience feel you are well qualified to make the presentation and using sound judgement. Humour can be useful, but a bit like Marmite – not everyone will appreciate it.

(4) Aide-mémoire, but not a script Strong delivery of a speech, without factual or grammatical mistakes, is essential. And don’t slavishly follow a script – improvisation with notes and graphics is often a more lively way to deliver your points and it allows you to maintain eye contact with your audience. Practising in the mirror and recording yourself beforehand will help you time, perfect and nuance your performance – especially the ending.

Do you have what it takes? (1) Are you proactive? (2) Do you have a USP? (3) Do you have enough contacts? (4) Can you survive if things are quiet?

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CAREER PROFILES

CLIMBING THE LADDER

PLANNERS EACH HAVE THEIR OWN REASONS FOR SEEKING NEW POSITIONS WITHIN THE PROFESSION. HERE, RTPI MEMBERS AND LICENTIATES WORKING TOWARDS FULL MEMBERSHIP TELL THEIR STORIES ZENAB HAJI­ISMAIL MRTPI, PLANNER Where do you work and what does it involve? I work for Camden Council as a senior planning officer. Day to day I am dealing with the managing and assessing of developments and proposals in the borough. These include anything from extensions to hotels to garage doors. I also work on appeals.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? I was dealing with planning obligations such as Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 agreements. I moved to gain a broader perspective of planning, more exposure and wider experience. I now deal with a variety of things.

What is the most important thing you've done to

boost your career prospects? The most important thing has been putting extra effort into my learning and development, and getting involved with the RTPI. I have worked on gaining extensive exposure to a range of developments and planning issues, and I still am. Getting involved with the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 agreements,

meeting different people and getting involved with a variety of things, helps to ensure a strong foundation for my future.

What's your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs? Be realistic and patient. Don’t take a new job for the sake of it. Make sure the work you do and job you take aligns with what you want for your future.

J O A N N E FA R R A R M R T P I , A S S O C I AT E D I R E C T O R Where do you work and what does it involve? I work for Atkins and head the UK planning, economics and sustainability team. I have a multi-faceted role that encompasses business management, supporting business development, winning work and providing planning technical expertise on development and infrastructure projects. So typical tasks include: managing resources and performance; overseeing

career and talent development; supporting bids; helping to prepare marketing material; meeting clients and providing senior planning support and advice on projects. No two days are the same, and I’m rarely in one office for more than two days at a time. But the variety is interesting and challenging, I love the ‘people’ aspects of the role from providing support and guidance to my team, working with other colleagues in Atkins,

“I LOVE THE ‘PEOPLE’ ASPECTS OF THE ROLE FROM PROVIDING SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE TO MY TEAM, WORKING WITH OTHER COLLEAGUES IN ATKINS, DEVELOPING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS AND MEETING STAKEHOLDERS ON PROJECTS”

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developing client relationships and meeting stakeholders on projects. It is also important to me that I continue to develop my technical expertise and am still helping to secure planning consents and develop master plans for major schemes across the UK and farther afield.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? My first job was with the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. I thoroughly enjoyed four years’ development management and policy experience before my bosses kindly let me go off on an 18-month sabbatical to work for Johannesburg City Council (through VSO). There, I helped to prepare and implement area development plans and a

tourism strategy for Soweto. In search of a new challenge on my return, I decided it was time to move to the private sector. Atkins was a good fit – we have a variety of public and private sector clients both in the UK and overseas and work on some very interesting and high-profile infrastructure and development projects. I also get to work with

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E LE A N O R G I N G E LL M R T P I , P R I N CI P A L P L A N N E R Where do you work and what does it involve? I work for Bidwells, which is a multidisciplinary practice. I’ve learnt quite quickly that there is no such

“THERE IS NO 'TYPICAL DAY'. I COULD BE MANAGING TECHNICAL CONSULTANTS, MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, HELPING COLLEAGUES”

thing as a typical day. I could be managing technical consultants to help to pull together a planning application, meeting with local planning authorities to discuss applications or their plan, appearing at examination, helping colleagues to prepare presentations for new or existing clients, and undertaking research.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? I have always maintained an upto-date professional

development plan (PDP); reflecting on my long-term goals, it was apparent that I was not going to gain the breadth of experience in my previous role. Initially, I explored different options to achieve my goals with the head of planning. However, it became apparent that to get the experience I had identified I would have to leave. One of the things that swayed my decision in favour of consultancy was being able to work across different geographical areas on a variety of different projects.

brilliant engineers, ecologists, landscape architects, master planners, environmental and sustainability consultants, heritage consultants, transport planners and architects.

you can foster an environment that helps to generate new ideas, pushes boundaries and is collaborative – all essential for the survival of a business in a very competitive market.

What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects?

What's your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs?

I think it’s very useful to have public and private sector experience. It helps you develop a greater appreciation of the planning and development context and consenting process. My overseas voluntary work helped to demonstrate a curiosity, a desire to share knowledge, to support and learn from others, a passion for new challenges and an ability to adapt to situations quickly and successfully. Career progression now is also about the added value you bring to an organisation, how

When I’m looking at CVs I like to see that people have stayed in a job for at least a couple of years before moving on. A CV that shows the candidate has had a new job rings alarm bells. I like to see a variety of experience in the candidate’s early career before they have decided to specialise in one area. If I was interviewing someone for a role in Atkins I’d expect them to have done a bit of research about the company, know what we do, where we operate. I’d also like to hear what they think are the key

Activities Committee has opened different doors for me.

What's your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs?

What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects? I have always been open to different challenges. Not all of these are based in the office. Getting involved with the RTPI, be this through Planning Aid, Young Planners and now the Regional

Use your PDP to match roles to your own goals. Talk to other planners and professionals about their roles. Do your research about the company and role. What you can bring to them is as important as what they can do for you. Finally, be realistic about commuting times and other benefits – a great package on paper, but miles away may mean you have to make sacrifices in your personal life.

“IF I WAS INTERVIEWING SOMEONE I’D EXPECT THEM TO HAVE DONE A BIT OF RESEARCH, KNOW WHAT WE DO, WHERE WE OPERATE. I’D ALSO LIKE TO HEAR WHAT THEY THINK ARE THE KEY ISSUES FACING THE PROFESSION AND WHETHER THEY PLAY A ROLE IN SUPPORTING THE RTPI”

issues facing the profession and whether they play a role in supporting the RTPI.

What should planners seeking a senior role keep in mind? Planner seeking a more senior role should be able to demonstrate the quality of their work, presenting examples at an interview often helps to stimulate discussion. Applicants should have excellent commercial awareness, identify where they have added value on a

project or for the business, where they have established a good client relationship and maintained it, and how they helped to inform and implement business strategy.

What three character traits best describe a successful planner? Collaborative. Well organised. A sense of humour. Joanne is part of the judging panel for the RTPI Planning Excellence Awards 2015

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CAREER PROFILES

D A N I E L R A M I R E Z , A S S I S TA N T P L A N N E R Where do you work and what does it involve? I work at Turley in Southampton as an Assistant Planner. A large proportion of my work is focused on the residential sector with good mix of both policy and development management based jobs. I am currently assisting with the preparation of a number of planning applications for medium to large housing developments across

the South of England. On the policy side, I work with regional and national house builders to help identify land for development through individual site appraisal and strategic land searches.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? Having spent a large proportion of my career working in local government, I felt a new

challenge was needed. The improving economy provided the ideal opportunity for me to take advantage of the opportunities that were emerging in the planning industry, particularly in the housing sector. Turley offered great career prospects, the chance to work with a highly regarded team of planners and gain experience in development management in a commercial setting.

"BE BOLD AND AMBITIOUS! THE JOB MARKET IS BOOMING SO IT’S A GREAT TIME TO CONSIDER CAREER PROGRESSION"

What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects? I’ve worked in a number of authorities and I’ve been director of my own consultancy, which has given me breadth of knowledge and understanding of planning in very different contexts. I’ve also been involved in

M A R T Y N E A R L E M R T P I , A S S O C I AT E P L A N N E R Where do you work and what does it involve? I work in the Newcastle office representing a range of clients across multidisciplinary tasks, including but not limited to large scale residential, commercial and retail development. This including applications forming EIA submissions. I have also developed a specialism in the energy sector, advising clients on commercial energy proposals across the UK.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? I’m a local lad who grew up in Cramlington in Northumberland and so what really motivated me was

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the fact I would have a real influence on development happening within the North East. In my previous roles I have worked across the UK and it has been refreshing to be able to help shape the continuing emergence of the area as a vibrant, prosperous and thriving place to live.

“BE WILLING TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF. THE UNKNOWN IS ALWAYS A BIT SCARY BUT I’VE ALWAYS AIMED TO SET MYSELF A BIG CHALLENGE EACH COMING YEAR”

the South Coast Young Planners Network, having held the post of Network Chair for 2014. This has been a great supplement to my experience and has helped to show my enthusiasm for planning beyond the day job. I also completed my Masters in 2013 at UCL, which has given me the qualifications I need to work toward Chartered Town Planner status.

What's your advice for planners seeking new jobs? The job market is booming so it’s a great time to consider career progression. Don’t underestimate the power of social networks; LinkedIn is how I ended up where I am today.

people is sorely missed, with an over reliance on e-mail and social media.

What's your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs?

What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects? Generally speaking the key to growth has been engaging with people and understanding their need and then seeking to work around issues towards solutions that can be mutually beneficial. Good interpersonal skills might be something you would take for granted, but I think the art of speaking to

When selling yourself to prospective employees, it is about how these skills can be utilised by them. I am always surprised when people go for interviews or to meet prospective new clients and have not researched the company to know what they’re doing or what they’re interest are. I recently became one of the Faces of Wind Energy, a resource for anyone interested in a career in renewables. If you’re interested in finding out more about the sector visit: www.facesofwind energy.com/

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K AT I E C H I L D M R P T I , P L A N N I N G I N S P E C T O R AT E Where do you work and what does it involve? I work for the Planning Inspectorate, as a field-based Inspector. I deal with planning appeals and Local Plans/CIL

"DON’T EXPECT TO WALK INTO YOUR DREAM JOB. IDENTIFY WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE YOU NEED, AND TRY AND USE YOUR CURRENT ROLE TO BUILD UP YOUR CV AND GET AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS YOU CAN"

work across England. The mix of development management and policy work means the job is really varied.

Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role? I’d worked in local government for about 20 years and felt it was the right time to move on and experience a different dimension to planning. I’d been thinking about a career with PINS for a while after being impressed with the professionalism of various Local Plan Inspectors I’d come across. I was also attracted by the training and travel opportunities not available

in my previous job.

What is the most important thing you’ve done to boost your career prospects? Working for a small rural district council in a high growth area. In a small authority you tend to get more responsibility at an earlier stage in your career, and I

gained lots of hands-on policy experience planning for thousands of homes. It was also a pro-growth authority, so we were able to achieve things and make positive plans to shape the area. I was given a lot of freedom to be creative and we devised a very different approach to plan-making which involved working in partnership with Parish Councils.

What’s your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs? Don’t expect to automatically walk into your dream job. Identify what skills and experience you need to attain it, and try and use your current role to build up your CV and get as much experience as you can – sometimes easier said than done!

D A N I E L S TA N L E Y , G R A D U AT E P L A N N E R Where do you work and what does it involve?

the switch to your current planning role?

I joined AECOM’s London Office as a Graduate Planner in October 2014 following the conclusion of my MPlan degree in Urban Studies and Planning from Sheffield University. Working within AECOM’s wider Design Planning + Economics practice, the Planning Team plays an important role in integrating different areas of expertise on projects, offering a holistic approach to guide responsible and productive use of land.

When considering my career choices whilst at university, I was keen to pursue a profession which would allow me to work on a broad range of projects exhibiting different scales and contexts. AECOM’s involvement in delivering internationally recognised projects

Why did you decide to make

such as the London Olympic Park and Legacy Communities scheme, as well as their efforts in tackling issues of widespread concern including the UK housing crisis immediately appealed to me. Since joining AECOM I have been able to work on a highly diverse selection of projects – from assisting district and county councils with

“WHEN CONSIDERING MY CAREER CHOICES WHILST AT UNIVERSITY, I WAS KEEN TO PURSUE A PROFESSION WHICH WOULD ALLOW ME TO WORK ON A BROAD RANGE OF PROJECTS”

housing developments and infrastructure plans, to collaboration with private developers for mixed-use development schemes in London.

What is the most important thing you've done to boost your career prospects? An interest in development and planning practices overseas steered me

towards opportunities which could expand this subject knowledge. By carrying out a short placement in AECOM’s Rio de Janeiro office as well as spending a semester of my masters abroad studying at Aalborg University in Denmark, I was able to gain an appreciation of planning and development practices in highly contrasting environments outside the UK. These experiences have provided me with valuable insight in understanding and appreciating the context when delivering development and planning services, something I can now apply to the day to day work I do with AECOM.

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

EXPANDING ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAPABILITIES REQUIRES DISCIPLINE AND A CONSISTENT APPROACH TO ASSESSING YOUR STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES. FORTUNATELY, THROUGH THE RTPI AND BEYOND, THERE ARE MYRIAD WAYS OF DOING SO

DEVELOPING INTEREST 26

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Making the most of RTPI membership

Sources of CPD

The RTPI cites the following as n Action Learning Groups It’s easy to underplay the depth of the RTPI membership offer, so a refresher may recognised sources of CPD: n Involvement in a professional group be due. Firstly, don’t be concerned about n RTPI Conferences n Attending public inquiries or stepping forward and getting involved. The n Regional training events neighbourhood forums institute lobbies and influences ministers n Planning Theory and Practice n Coaching and officials in order to help shape policy n RTPI publications n RTPI activities of a professional positions – and your views on topical issues n Research papers nature are always welcomed. n Management information guidance In terms of published material, The n Delivering a training session Mentoring Planner’s magazine, email newsletters and n Supporting at a workshop n APC assessor website – of which this supplement is part – n Modules on virtual learning sites, n In RTPI branch, chapter or have a daily presence. The academic journal, e.g. RTPI Learn network Planning Theory and Practice, is available n Writing for the technical press to members at a discounted subscription Volunteering price (currently £33 per annum). Work-based learning or other n Planning Aid Bulletins, regional newsletters and learning n Presentations in schools monthly members bulletins round out the n Work shadowing n Community group involvement regular news offer, while good practice n Project work n Be an ambassador for the RTPI information, and case studies providing practical advice to members are published on the RTPI website. In terms of management guidance, members get access to a range of free advice and information factsheets, for managers and aspiring team As a result, most planning “MEMBERS ARE leaders. There’s also a regularly updated series of interview professionals have a career REQUIRED TO WRITE podcasts with leading planners, politicians and others. The development game plan that AND MAINTAIN A institute also runs a cost-free employment law helpline and can help them to advance PROFESSIONAL guidance on CPD activities (see next section). their career and achieve their DEVELOPMENT PLAN For those moving into consultancy as sole practitioners, ambitions. AND COMPLETE A joining the RTPI’s independent consultants network allows you PDPs follow a specific MINIMUM OF 50 HOURS access to a range of member benefits and the opportunity to structure and you can OF CONTINUOUS feature in the RTPI's Directory of Planning Consultants. download a template on PROFESSIONAL The institute's web site also offers guidance for existing the RTPI website. Each PDP DEVELOPMENT” planners considering their next career move. (Jobs are should have three elements: advertised in The Planner on the dedicated Planner Jobs n Reflection. Describe website.) your current role, the skills and knowledge you need and the Finally there’s RTPI Plus – an exclusive package of consumer changes likely to occur in the next two years. discounts including hotel accommodation, gym discounts, n Analysis. Do your own SWOT analysis (strengths, cashback gift cards and cinema discounts. weaknesses, opportunities and threats). n Planning. Consider your short (1-2 years) and long-term (3 years+) career ambitions using SMART (specific, measurable, Developing your skills – CPD and professional achievable, realistic and timely) objectives. development plans Professional development is high on the agenda at the RTPI. It’s worth reviewing and updating your PDP regularly so you Every year, members are required – under the institute's Code can take advantage of new opportunities. of Professional Conduct – to write and maintain a professional There are many ways to improve your skills using CPD, and development plan (PDP) and complete a minimum of 50 guidance from the RTPI (http://bit.ly/10f7LH8) points out that hours of continuous professional development (CPD). CPD is not all about courses and conferences. The overriding factor is whether your chosen forms of CPD activity help meet the needs for development that you identified initially in your PDP. Naturally, the courses put on by the RTPI and others are a logical first port of call, but the RTPI is not prescriptive. Indeed,

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

“NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF NETWORKING – NOR THE VARIETY OF NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES CONFERRED ON YOU BY YOUR RTPI MEMBERSHIP”

it suggests that CPD can include any “unexpected source of learning” that help your development as a planner. Again, the key determinant of the value of an activity is how closely it can be related to your professional development plan. Other elements of CPD include distance learning, academic research, work-based development, industry conferences, studying for new qualifications and active involvement in bodies like the RTPI. Develop your own game plan: http://bit.ly/1Am5PLC

Attending RTPI Conferences and events The RTPI regions and networking groups put on an extensive number of events, with the planning profession especially blessed with individuals happy to discuss topical issues – from legislative change to policy interpretation – in front of their peers. The cost of RTPI events start from free and low cost upwards depending on topic and speakers. Then there are regular regional training events; these are run by the RTPI branches, and many are free. Also run annually are the RTPI’s national conferences, which typically take the form of full-day events with multiple speakers and an overriding topical theme. The RTPI maintains an event calendar at www.rtpi.org.uk/ events/events-calendar – The Planner magazine publishes details of these and other, non-RTPI events of interest to planning professionals.

seeking to specialise in a particular discipline. As well as valuable peerto-peer discussions, you’ll put yourself in a position to debate hot topics and, through debate, influence developing RTPI policy and, ultimately, government policy. Network members share knowledge of these topics through the email bulletin, website, study visits and meetings and events. The Regeneration Network caters for members interested in topics such as community involvement, participation and engagement, physical regeneration, tourism and regeneration, retail and town centres. The Transport Planning Network (TPN), for transport planners and those with an interest in transport issues, is run jointly by the RTPI and the Transport Planning Society. The RTPI's Environmental Communities of Interest are groups set up to share knowledge and promote best practice in environmental planning. Members of the Urban Design Network recognise that there is a need to demonstrate and promote the value of good urban design – to clients, developers, local authorities and other community decision makers. RTPI networks cater for planner type as well as specialism; those with less than ten years' post-qualification experience you can join the lively Young Planners network, which has branches in each country of the UK as well as branches in nine English regions. As well as informal networking and social events for like-minded people in a similar position, young planners networks offer the opportunity to get involved in the committees that organise each group’s activities. An annual young planners conference takes place each autumn. For planners in planning enforcement roles, the Network for Planning Enforcement (NAPE) caters for those “at the sharp end” of planning and development management. The group encourages development management planners to network through local groups in all regions. Those considering a move into consultancy are supported by the Independent Consultants' Network (ICN), an RTPI group set up for sole practitioners or individuals running their own small consultancy practices.

Making the most of the RTPI’s networks Never underestimate the value of networking – nor the variety of networking opportunities conferred on you by your RTPI membership. The networks, groups and forums operated by the institute embrace all aspects of professional planning practice and offer fast-track development for any planner

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The Planning Education and Research Network (PERN) aims to support greater communication between educators, researchers and practitioners in the planning community. The International Development Network (IDN) forms part of the RTPI's international activity and strategy. It's a networking and information resource for people with an interest in planning and international development. Those committed to sustainable settlements are encouraged to join. The Planning for Housing Network is run jointly by the RTPI and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). For full details of the RTPI’S networks, groups and forums visit: www.rtpi.org.uk/ knowledge/networks/

Becoming a mentor

Volunteering with Planning Aid Giving over some of your spare time to volunteer with Planning Aid organisations is a great way to broaden your experience of the people and planning issues that may be outside of your regular remit - and interact directly with your local community. For example, with Planning Aid England, volunteering roles include working as a casework volunteer and supporting individuals or groups with their planning related matters such as setting objectives, policy writing and collecting evidence. At a more administrative level, volunteers can be required to help man the organisation’s advice lines (planning advisors answer enquiries on planning related issues in England either via email or over the phone) and maintain web resources. Only active chartered members can give planning advice. Planning Aid England’s volunteer opportunities fit into the following broad categories: n Consultation and community engagement n Casework n Neighbourhood Planning support n Fundraising n Developing resources

Becoming a mentor to a Licentiate member who is working their way through the RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) membership route is personally and professionally worthwhile. A mentor’s job is to challenge the graduate planner to be critically reflective of their work and progress, and the idea of reflection is based on the principle that gaining experience alone is not the most efficient means of developing the work based skills needed as a professional. A good mentor will encourage a planner to prioritise taking time out from the day-to-day pressures of work to consider what they have done, what they have learned and how this might affect their ability to act in future. A mentor provides an independent and objective sounding board that means the graduate planner does not have to go through these ideas in isolation. But it could be the problemsolving, confidence boost or increase in communication that enables positive change to happen. Because being reflective involves questioning one’s experience rather than just taking it for granted, a mentor can facilitate and explore key questions and encourage the person being mentored to record their findings. What have I learned from this? What would I repeat or do differently this time? It is up to Licentiates to find their own APC mentors, and it is useful to discuss with your line manager whether they could put you in touch with a peer or senior colleague. Alternatively you may be able to utilise contacts from where you graduated or from the RTPI region or young planners network. Anyone interested in becoming a APC mentor can also volunteer via

n Promoting Planning Aid England and raising our profile n Mentoring and training Once you’ve registered your interest, advisors will let you know the volunteering opportunities available in your area at the time of your application. These will depend on the needs of communities or groups at the time you get involved, so you may need to be flexible as to when and for how long you commit your time in order to see a project through. Volunteering can make a real difference to communities and groups in your area. For you personally, the benefits are myriad; it can count towards your CPD, and just as importantly you’ll gain new perspectives on how the public interacts with the planning system. Newly qualified planners get a chance to broaden their knowledge and experience, while others will widen their existing professional networks. And of course, you’ll also be giving something back to society. n www.rtpi.org.uk/planning-aid/ volunteering

“A MENTOR’S JOB IS TO CHALLENGE A PLANNER TO BE CRITICALLY REFLECTIVE OF THEIR WORK... BEING REFLECTIVE INVOLVES QUESTIONING ONE’S EXPERIENCE”

an electronic form on the RTPI website. Information on mentors and mentoring can be found at http://bit. ly/1KSdkNs There is a developing trend for APC mentors accessible primarily through email. This approach would appeal to those prospective mentors who find email exchanges less constraining on time. This also means that volunteer mentors from one area of the country could have the opportunity to be an “electronic mentor” to a graduate planner elsewhere in the UK or overseas – perhaps a resident of an area lacking in suitable mentors.

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WORKING OVERSEAS

For planners seeking to work abroad there is no substitute for researching your target country either on holiday or for a study visit. But bear in mind that working there will be very different. Mark Smulian reports

PLANNING W ABROAD orking aboard can be an important career development opportunity for planners, but it needs some care. You should have some knowledge of the planning system of any country you are considering. In almost all cases planners work abroad because they have volunteered through an organisation, or their employer has sent them. For British nationals there are few legal impediments to working elsewhere in the European Union, but language barriers and differences in planning systems may make this problematic in practice. Immigration restrictions make working in the US difficult, which means planners more often look to Commonwealth countries, where a history of similar planning systems and qualifications and sometime culture can make things easier. RTPI international committee chair Peter Geraghty says: “I believe working overseas is a great opportunity to develop skills and experience as well as improving employability. Many countries employ innovative and interesting practices which can inform professional practice in the UK. This exchange of knowledge and experience can only be good for the profession. “Our relationships with other institutes can often be useful when planners

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are intending to work abroad.” The Commonwealth Association of Planners runs a Young Planners Network,and this may offer some informal opportunities for planners to contact each other. Its chair, Viral Desai, says: “We provide interchange of ideas and good practice between young planners, though we do not organise exchanges or placements ourselves.” The RTPI offers guidance on working abroad on its website, and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) can find posts for planners, although opportunities are uncommon. The surest way may be getting a job at a consultancy with international reach.

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Volunteering overseas Michael Fox MRTPI, associate planning director at Nash Partnership, spent two years volunteering in Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia. “As an experience it’s second to none for personal development. I’d recommend it to anyone.” Fox worked as regional planning officer for the Central Province of Zambia on a VSO good governance project, “part of which is establishing a planning system that is fair, transparent and accountable”. He explains: “The Zambian system has not changed much from British colonial times, when it was established to serve

the interests of colonisers and a few people they worked with. “It only applies to 10 per cent of land with the other 90 per cent being controlled by traditional chiefs and even the 10 per cent is still geared to low-density development of bungalows, which is very wasteful and does not produce enough homes.” His role was to try to bring the remaining land within the formal planning system, which was “difficult as the chiefs mostly perceived this as being against their interests”. But the new system needed the chiefs’ co-operation to be effective and Fox recalls: “I took part in negotiations with chiefs; I took them through the

opportunities, which was quite a learning experience. “Some are progressive and can see the benefits for their people, but others, frankly, need inducements before they will co-operate by putting their land into the planning system.” Fox says he went to Zambia being “motivated by the opportunity to have a bigger impact on the world and deal with bigger issues”. “I also wanted to give something back as I’d been a backpacking traveller when I was young and had seen conditions in developing countries and I wanted to learn. “It’s concerning when you are going, wondering if you are going to be living in a hut with snakes roaming or lions outside, but I lived in a three-bedroom bungalow."

Fox says his experience in Zambia helped his career through a better understanding of other cultures, something he is putting into practice though Nash’s programme to seek work in sub-Saharan Africa. VSO’s volunteer relationship manager Skev Leonida says once the need for a volunteer post has been established VSO will advertise them, and interview applicants. Each successful person must donate £985 to VSO. They will be provided with flights, a living allowance for food and general expenses, accommodation, medical insurance and £4 a day paid into their UK bank account. Leonida says: “Town planning is not a skill very often sought, but when we do advertise it attracts plenty of interest.”

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W E CAN HE LP Y OU FI ND Y OU R PE RF EC T J OB • Jobs by email • CV upload • Tailored searches

theplanner.co.uk/jobs

O R YO U R P E R F ECT C AND I D ATE Access to job seekers: • Print • Online • Email

C O N TA C T www.theplanner.co.uk/jobs Contact the recruitment team on 020 7880 7665 or email david.barry@redactive.co.uk

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WORKING OVERSEAS

Working for an employer

Working abroad for yourself Steve Kemp MRTPI, director of Think OpenPlan, worked in the Caribbean in a previous job and used this experience when he set up his own business. “The main place we work is the Caribbean, where we did the spatial development strategy and environmental assessment guidance for Trinidad & Tobago, work on a community plan in Barbados and a scoping study for a national plan in St Vincent & the Grenadines,” he says. Kemp says the country’s new planning law has modernised a system that was based on the British 1947 Planning Act. “While the UK has changed and developed, in the Caribbean the planning system had fossilised, so they were dealing with legislation that was never well adapted to their needs and was frozen in time too,” he says. “Trinidad & Tobago has taken what it needs from UK legislation and blended it with some things from North America and with what they have experienced since independence. It is still grounded in the UK and would be familiar to British planners.” Kemp would advise those wanting to work aboard “to

Young Planner of the Year Zoë Green MRTPI is a senior planning consultant for Atkins, a firm that works internationally and so can offer its staff experience abroad. She has worked in Bahrain, Colombia, Oman, Qatar and Sweden. In Suhar, Oman, she worked on following up a master plan that Atkins had created in the 1980s to update it and check what had been done – a task involving some unusual planning measures, such as protecting mangrove swamps. Green says: “It was my first experience in the Middle East. There are cultural differences, and differences in religious observance to be sensitive to, such as Ramadan, but people are generally open-minded. I thought there might be restrictions as a woman, but did not encounter any and a lot of the government departments we worked with were very mixed. Bahrain and Qatar are similar, although some places are much more strict.” Her work in Sweden was in the Vetlanda municipality in the rural highlands, where the local planning director had worked in the UK and wanted “to import some of our methods”. “They were interested in employment land reviews and open space assessments and looked to us for best practice. English is widely spoken in Sweden and I was even able to take part in some public consultations.” Green has also worked in the Colombian city of Pereira on an urban open space study, where “we found that what they had was quite high quality and they could concentrate on improvements and upgrade them, rather than new spaces". She says Atkins’ overseas assignments are “pretty full-on and there is little time to be a tourist, although as a planner you are going around seeing things anyway, but it’s quite a different experience to what you would have as a tourist. “Those wanting to work abroad should look to engineeringbased consultancies, as they do larger-scale projects so there is more opportunity to work abroad.”

understand what different requirements there will be in the planning system in each region and to be very aware of different cultural attitudes and sensitive to them – for example, how land tenure can be seen very differently”. His colleague Laura Bartle has also worked in Trinidad & Tobago, having previously worked

elsewhere with Kemp. “Its a huge career experience,” she says. “The big thing I took from it is to be much more appreciative of context. “Keep your eyes open for opportunities and try to find people who already have contacts abroad, as you are not going to be able to just do this for yourself, you need that introduction.”

Exchanges The RTPI’s advice to planners seeking an exchange with an opposite number abroad warns, “it is as well to be realistic about what can be achieved”. In most EU countries, differences in language, planning education and systems make exchanges problematic. The RTPI and the American Planning Association (www. planning.org) run a programme where UK-based planners spend two weeks working together in each other’s offices and living in each other’s homes. While Australia and New Zealand have systems that will feel familiar, both have far fewer planners per head of population than the UK and salaries are lower, so exchange opportunities are limited.

Resources RTPI International www.rtpi.org.uk/ the-rtpi-near-you/rtpiinternational/ Commonwealth Association of Planners www.commonwealthplanners.org/index.php/ en/ Voluntary Service Overseas www.vso.org.uk European Council of Spatial Planners www.ectp-ceu.eu/ Global Planners Network www.globalplanners network.org/

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DIRECTORY

RECRUITMENT CONSULTANTS Allen & York

Lewis Davey Ltd

Address: Allenview House, Hanham Road, Wimborne, Dorset BH121AG Website: www.allen-york.com Telephone: 01202 888 986 Contact: Sarah Kerr Email: skerr@allen-york.com

Address: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX Website: www.lewisdavey.com Telephone: 020 78594246 Contact: Shaun Lewis Email: shaun@lewisdavey.com

Allen & York is a specialist planning & built environment recruitment consultancy. We have 20+ years of experience, across: design, town planning, surveying and architecture. We partner with global consultancies, developers and local authorities, to source high-calibre talent across the planning market. Our highly experienced recruitment consultants are happy to discuss your career plans or recruitment strategies and look forward to hearing from you.

As a leading Town Planning recruitment consultancy, our specialist Town Planning team brings 15 years experience of placing Licentiate and Chartered Planners. Our mission is to match candidates and clients in their pursuit of growth and development. We work with key decision makers within: • Planning Consultancies (Planning, Property, Multidisciplinary, Environmental, Design) • Councils • Developers We recruit from Assistant to Director. Contact us to be considered for active roles or to work strategically with us with a longer term goal in mind.

Mattinson Partnership Ltd

Project Resource

Address: Unit 109, Linton House, 164 Union street, SE1 Website: www.mattinsonpartnership.com Telephone: 02079602550 Contact: David Mattinson Email: djm@mattpart.com

Website: www.project-resource.co.uk Telephone: 0207 870 9333 Email: London@project-resource.co.uk Manchester@project-resource.co.uk Reading@project-resource.co.uk Birmingham@project-resource.co.uk

Mattinson Partnership has been providing specialist recruitment services to the planning industry for over 10 years. Operating from offices in Central London and Glasgow, we offer permanent, temporary and executive search opportunities across the UK and internationally. Our experienced consultants have worked within the industry so we provide a unique and specialist service that helps our clients identify the right people with the right skills, whilst taking care to maximise the career prospects of the professionals that we place.

We are a recruitment agency specialising in supplying whitecollar professionals to market-leading contractors, consultancies, developers and end clients within the construction and infrastructure industries across the UK. Our mission is to be the recruitment partner of choice within the industries and professions we specialise in. As members of REC and APSCo, it’s our goal to use strictly professional practices to get the best results for both employers and job seekers we work with.

Randstad CPE

Reed Specialist Recruitment

Address: Second Floor, Forum Four Parkway, Solent Business Park, Whiteley, Fareham, PO15 7Ad Website: www.randstad.co.uk Telephone: 01489 560 030 Contact: Freyja Jarratt Email: Freyja.jarratt@randstad.co.uk

Address: Head Office, Charles House, 61-69 Derngate, Northampton NN1 1U Website: www.reedglobal.com Telephone: Contact: Catherine Maskell Email: Catherine.maskell@reedglobal.com

With a reputation for providing specialist technical and professional staff to the Construction & Property market for over 30 years, Randstad CPE are highly regarded in delivering a total recruitment solution to their clients. Our CPE recruitment teams work with contractors, consultancies and practices together with public sector organisations, local government and public service providers and our aim is to source the right candidate for our client’s roles based on the candidate’s skills and experience.

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Reed Specialist Recruitment is a specialist provider of permanent, contract, temporary and outsourced recruitment solutions across more than 20 different industries. Our nationwide teams are able to provide local expertise, career advice and market insight materials to job seekers to help them with their job search. Having access to the UK's leading commercial jobsite reed.co.uk, our consultants are able to match job seekers with the right job for them.

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DIRECTORY

EDUCATION & STUDY CENTRES The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. Our four research institutes carry out work in the fields that are relevant to industry and society, including topical issues such as: •

Flood risk management

High speed rail

Low carbon buildings

Carbon capture and storage

Housing markets

Policy, poverty and social exclusion

Petroleum geoscience

Our programmes are often highly rated in national surveys, for example, Civil and Structural Engineering was ranked 1st in the UK by the Guardian University league table 2015.

We have a long-standing community of planning and regeneration staff with strong links to research and practice, nationally and internationally. The vocational focus of our teaching results in the development of professional competencies and high employment rates for our graduates. All our courses can be studied either full-time or part-time, and are accredited by the relevant professional bodies, including the RTPI and the RICS. Our courses include: MSc Urban Planning, MSc Urban Regeneration, MSc Transport Planning, BA (Honours) Planning and Geography, and a new Executive MBA (Built Environment).

www.shu.ac.uk

www.hw.ac.uk

Programmes offered: •

MSc City & Regional Planning

MSc City Planning & Real Estate Development

MSc City Planning & Regeneration

MSc International Planning Studies

Full-time, part-time and modular study options available. REF 2014: Architecture, Built Environment & Planning – Ranked joint 1st in the UK, with 100% of the UoA’s impact assessed as internationally excellent or better. www.glasgow.ac.uk

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This is our story “Since joining Atkins my ideas have been listened to and taken on board. I’m just a small part of the big picture – it’s the wider team that makes Atkins work”

We know that choosing your first or next career move can often be a daunting process, involving lots of research and weighing up of alternative options. But when you get to know us and find out more about the career opportunities at Atkins, we think that choice will be made a little easier for you.

We believe in improving together, so we’ll make sure you get the support and training you need to succeed. There’ll be opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from around the world and not just be part of our team delivering large scale projects backed by international resources, but also creating technically excellent masterpieces on a smaller scale. We’re confident that you’ll find a career with us rewarding, whatever it is you do and wherever you want to work. So explore our current vacancies and find your next role at Atkins that suits you.

To be inspired, visit: www.atkinsglobal.com/careers/planning2015

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The Planner 2015 Guide to Career Development  
The Planner 2015 Guide to Career Development