Planner, Pegasus Group Ltd
I have always been keen on human geography and during Sixth Form I completed a week of work shadowing at Savills, Cambridge to confirm planning was the career for me. The variety of each different development project appealed to me.
I completed my BA in Urban Studies and Planning and subsequent MPlan qualifications at the University of Sheffield. As part of my course I was required to complete work experience for minimum of a month which I completed at South Cambridgeshire District Council in both the Development Control and Policy Teams; whilst I did not choose to go into the public sector it was a valuable experience. During the summer of 2010 I later completed work experience at Pegasus Group's Cambridge Office which culminated with a job offer.
In June 2011 I started working for Pegasus Group in the Cambridge Office as a Planner and became a Licentiate RTPI member in July 2011. My role initially involved supporting senior colleagues through research and monitoring work. As time progressed and where I knew the details about the schemes, I assisted in writing site appraisals and promotion strategies, planning statements, providing input to design and access statements, and drafting representations on LPA documents. As I gained more experience I was able to become more actively involved with the day to day project management of modest scale planning projects. Within my Professional Competence Statement I chose to showcase work I had I completed from this stage onwards because it reflected my input into projects.
Lydia's top tips for future candidates:
- Reading the guidance is essential as this is often updated by the RTPI throughout the 2 year L-APC process. It sets out the requirements for the L-APC as well as providing the marking criteria. My top tip is to look out for the examples of good log books.
- Whilst it may seem hard to see the benefits of working on your log book at the beginning of the L-APC process it is extremely valuable to keep thorough notes of your daily work experience and try to keep as up to date as possible with your log book - if only to gauge how long it takes to complete just one month to the required standard! You will no doubt go back and add to the log book at a later date but it is good to have strong starting point to save rushing towards the deadline.
- Another benefit of starting the log book early is that you can also use it as a tool to identify any areas of work experience which you need to develop prior to the submission of your L-APC. Any shortfalls can be remedied through discussion with line managers.
- Ensure that what you write in the essays is within the context of the of the L-APC criteria and ensure that you fulfil the marking requirements and provide the evidence to demonstrate how you have fulfilled each of the competencies. This is particularly difficult given the word limit so it is recommended you choose your case studies in good time in discussion with your mentor and allow sufficient time to perfect the written submission.
- The L-APC is a reflection of your professional competence – not your colleague's, your mentor's, nor your company's. As such it is essential you are organised, allow sufficient time to complete the written submissions, and ask for help from mentors when necessary.
- It is vital that your written submission illustrates your progression and active involvement in projects, of particular importance is the need to ensure that you reflect on what you have done – was your strategy the right one, did you gather the right information, what issues / challenges did you face and how might you do something differently in the future? If you have not got enough experience or haven't quite finished perfecting your submission (including the log book) don't try to rush; seek to pass first time by working towards a later submission deadline.
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.