Planner (Planning, Policy & Economics), Arup
Following an undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Oxford, I studied for a Master's degree in Spatial Planning at University College London. Whilst there, I specialised in urban regeneration, and undertook a dissertation which explored the potential effectiveness of policies such as the New Homes Bonus in increasing local support for housing development. I graduated in 2012 with distinction.
I joined Arup in September 2012, based in London. Arup is a global firm of engineers, designers, planners, and consultants offering a range of professional services related to the built environment. Arup's London town planners sit within the Integrated City Planning team, which also incorporates economists, urban designers and landscape architects. Arup also has town planners across ten other offices in the UK. This professional and geographical range has provided me with the opportunity to collaborate in a wide variety of projects, both within the UK as well as further afield.
I have been fortunate during my time at Arup to be involved in an incredibly diverse range of projects, covering plan making, development management, research and economic development. I have worked on a number of evidence base documents (in particular relating to objectively assessed housing needs), and was part of a large multi-disciplinary team which prepared a suite of strategic planning documents for Seychelles. I have contributed to a number of studies investigating different aspects of the planning system, for clients including the Welsh Government, the Planning Advisory Service and the States of Alderney in the Channel Islands. I also worked on the large hybrid planning application for Phase 2 of Northstowe new town in South Cambridgeshire, which comprised up to 3,500 homes, a town centre, community infrastructure and road links.
Experience of the L-APC process:
Working towards my Chartered Membership provided me with a valuable opportunity to reflect on my experience and competencies, and identify the skills I aim to develop in the future. It has helped me to become a more confident and well-rounded town planner. Further details of my experience of the L-APC process can be found in my blog The RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence: More than just a means to an end.
Dan's top tips for future candidates:
- Don't simply view the L-APC process as a 'means to an end'. Whilst preparing your submission is likely to take up a significant amount of your evenings or weekends, it is also a really valuable opportunity to reflect on the experience you have gained to date and what you would like to aim towards in the future. I have been surprised at how useful my submission – and in particular my Professional Development Plan (PDP) – has been in guiding my professional development priorities following chartership.
- Wait until you are ready to submit (though don't put it off!). Whilst I could technically have submitted a few months earlier, I feel that it was the experience I gained in those extra months that really strengthened my submission. On the other hand, don't put off finalising your submission if you are ready!
- Consider the competencies early in the process. My mentor suggested early on that I start a 'competency matrix' to track the types of work I was undertaking. I found this a really useful approach, as it helped me guide the projects I became involved in, pick my Professional Competence Statement (PCS) case studies, and know when I was nearing the time to submit.
- Be reflective throughout the process. There is a temptation to think that the PCS only needs to be contemplative once, in order to meet the 'reflection and review' competency. In fact, the whole of the PCS (and other parts of the submission) should be used to reflect on your chosen actions and how this has informed what you would do in the future and how you developed as a planner.
- Clearly demonstrate the competencies. After my first draft of my written submission, my mentor and I agreed that I had focused too much on describing the 'story' of my case studies. I had not focussed enough on explaining the decisions I had made and the competencies I had shown. In subsequent drafts, I aimed to more clearly articulate how I had demonstrated each of the competencies.
- Ask a non-planner to proofread your submission. It is easy to get lost in technical jargon; a proofread by someone who is not as familiar with your day-to-day role ensures that your points are clearly explained.
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 2015.