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Sara Cockburn

Planner, Iceni ProjectsSara Cockburn Cropped

I studied Geography at Aberdeen University then went on to complete a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Heriot-Watt University. Since graduating in 2014, I have been working as a planning consultant in Glasgow. I joined Savills as a Graduate Planner in September 2014 and then joined Iceni Projects as a Planner in January 2017.

My roles have led me to be involved in a range of planning proposals in locations across the 34 Scottish Planning Authorities. My experience ranges from advising on town centre change of use applications to assisting with applications for major housing, mixed use and energy proposals. My day-to-day work includes: the preparation of focussed planning appraisals; promoting development opportunities through the development plan process; engaging with local communities; co-ordinating and submitting planning applications; and assisting with planning input to EIAs and EIA co-ordination.

Experience of the L-APC process:

Gaining Chartered membership of the RTPI has been important to allow me to progress in my career as a planning consultant. Gaining an accreditation that is recognised by the wider industry is beneficial for developing working relationships.

Sara's top tips for future L-APC candidates:

  • Get stuck in – ensure you have the right experience to meet the competencies.  Don't be afraid to ask for greater responsibility or to get involved with different projects to increase your experience and exposure to a wider range of planning issues. This will improve your ability to meet the competencies, and keep the job interesting!
  • Keep it social – stay in touch with people who have recently been through the L-APC process and others who are currently preparing their submission. Sharing ideas and discussing case studies and experiences was a useful way for me to gain a better understanding of the competencies and what is expected in your submission. Attending networking events and events specifically about the L-APC process made the process more enjoyable and helped keep me focussed on the submission requirements.
  • Plan it – getting organised early on was really important to keep me focussed and to ensure I had time to review my submission once it was drafted. I set deadlines for drafting each section of my submission and marked these in both my diary and my mentor's diary. This meant I had clear deadlines and helped keep me accountable to them. I would recommend having your mentor, colleagues and friends review your submission and let them know to expect it, so they can schedule time to review too.


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 Licentiate APC webpage. Candidate details provided here are current at time of L-APC submission in 2016.