Why did you choose to study planning?
I'm looking forward to pursuing a professional planning career, ideally at Westminster City Council. I get a buzz when I step off the train each weekday morning!
I've enjoyed roles in spatial analysis, desktop research and site investigation following my geography undergraduate degree, however planning offered a natural path towards a professional role. I started my current role at Westminster City Council in 2012 and I was fortunate to gain the support to study part-time in 2013.
What has been the best thing about studying planning?
The personal highlight of my course was a substantial practical project in which students were allocated into groups based on their skills and experience. The project involved preparing a proposal to redevelop a site in north London and assessing the proposals of other groups. It culminated in a staged and rather competitive committee meeting! This provided an excellent opportunity to work with people from different areas of expertise, such as urban design, and to gain an understanding of development economics.
Top tip for future planners?
If you're employed in planning already, don't be afraid to talk about your lectures, reading and assignments with your colleagues. They're likely to feel really nostalgic about their studies and hopefully they'll take a keen interest in yours; I found my colleagues to be a constant source of encouragement. Another tip is to keep up with the planning press; this will help you to reflect on your course content.
Why would you recommend that students consider a career in planning?
A career in planning will offer you just that - a career - and not just another job. I expect a lot of prospective planners will have a geography background, however planning benefits from those with other backgrounds too. You'll be part of a recognised profession which will enable you to develop a wide range of specialist skills and knowledge.
The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded to a high performing student. Andrew received the RTPI Student Prize 2014-15 for his studies at the University of Westminster.