Area Manager, Homes and Communities Agency
I started my planning career in 2008 working part-time in the Urban Design team of BDP whilst studying for a Masters in Spatial Planning at Manchester University.
Following completion of my Masters in 2009, I secured a place on the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) Graduate Programme. The Graduate Programme is designed to provide a diverse range of experience in the built environment sector through a series of placements. My placements included working in Eversheds LLP (Real Estate Team), Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), Hastoe Housing Association and the HCA Norfolk Team. As a result of my exposure to a range of sectors, I have developed a strong appreciation of how spatial planning relates to broader fields within the development sector.
In 2011 I decided to build upon my development planning experience and moved to London to work as a Project Manager for Turner & Townsend. Based in the Urban Development team, my role included managing a multi-disciplinary design team to prepare, submit and implement a planning application for a community development project. As part of this, I led liaisons with the Planning Authority, coordinated community consultations and managed the project programme. During this period, I reinforced my project management experience by successfully studying for a Prince2 qualification.
In 2012 I decided to return to the HCA as an Area Manager working in the HCA Greater Manchester team. As an Area Manager, I am responsible for managing the delivery of regeneration and housing projects across Greater Manchester and the North West. The role is varied but involves me working closely with key stakeholders, including Local Authorities, House Builders and the private sector to facilitate development.
Whilst at the HCA I have been successful in my APC and I look forward to continuing to progress my career within planning and development.
Bethan's top tips for candidates:
- Make good use of your mentor – I found the support from my mentor invaluable throughout the L-APC process, particularly as they worked in a different organisation and could therefore offer guidance from a different perspective.
- Just get started, it's never too late – Whilst ideally candidates should keep on top of their logbooks each month, in practice it is easy to get behind and it can seem like a big task to catch up. My advice would be to just make a start; it's never as bad as you think it's going to be!
- Think about the assessment criteria – It's really important to check your submission against each of the assessment criteria to ensure your submission clearly meets the requirements.
- Ask a non-planner to proof read your assessment – When writing your submission it's easy to make assumptions about the knowledge of the Assessors. Asking a non-planner to proof read your assessment helps to ensure that you contextualise your case studies and helps to avoid the use of professional/ organisational jargon.
Please note: To stay fit for purpose, L-APC requirements do change over time. For the most up to date advice please always refer to the L-APC Guidance on the Licenitate APC webpage. Candidate details provided here are current at time of L-APC submission in 2013.