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Student Profile: Rosie Brake

Rosie Brake

Course: MSc in Spatial Planning, Oxford Brookes University

Why did you choose to study planning?

Following a career break to bring up a family, I had been working in local government for more than ten years in a number of transport and planning-related roles. In 2013 I joined Wycombe District Council (WDC) as a Planning Policy Officer and feel fortunate that WDC funded my studies and allowed me to attend during work time. I had increasingly become aware that a 'proper' planning role would present interesting  challenges, proving meaningful and worthwhile.

What has been the best thing about studying planning?

Planning calls on a wide range of aptitudes. If you have strong analytical skills but also like to make leaps of creativity to solve problems, then a career in planning can be very satisfying. It is also a very meaningful occupation as your work focuses on matters fundamental to the public interest, supporting social and environmental justice.

As someone already in practice, the study has helped to fill in the theoretical background to planning and developed my critical thinking about planning issues and the way problems are framed, both politically and culturally. It was great to have access to dedicated and thoughtful academic staff, and to work through interesting assignments.

Top tip for future planners?

Communication, in the broadest sense, is vital. Planning can be a very technical process but it touches people's lives. We need to be able to speak, and write, and have conversations, in ways that make planning accessible to everyone.

Where is planning going to take you?

I'm lucky to be employed already by a very good local planning authority. My colleagues are thorough professionals, dedicated to achieving better outcomes through sound plan-making and rigorous decision-taking. I am always learning through them and with them.

The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded  to a high performing student. Rosie received the RTPI Student Prize 2014-15 for her studies at Oxford Brookes University.