My education and career
I completed my undergraduate degree in Geography at Cambridge University, during which I furthered a budding interest in the environmental, economic and social factors that influence place and space. I elected modules in Urbanism, wrote a dissertation on Green Belt developments in my hometown of Sheffield and secured short work experience placements at a London Borough, a multi-disciplinary property company in Leeds and the Royal Geographical Society. A career in town planning therefore appealed to me when the time came to pick a path and I applied for the Lichfields Graduate Development Programme, which included support throughout the APC process.
I moved to London in September 2018 to begin working at Lichfields’ London office as a Planner and simultaneously start a part-time Masters in Spatial Planning at the Bartlett, UCL. It was a busy two years as I settled into a new city and my first job while juggling the course. Despite this, I really enjoyed part-time study as it brought together theory and practice and provided great context to my degree.
As part of Lichfields’ graduate rotations, I began in a commercial retail and leisure team before moving to the residential team in the London office. I stayed put in housing and was later promoted to Senior Planner. I now work on major residential-led mixed-use developments across London, providing detailed planning strategy advice and helping to navigate proposed schemes through the planning process.
The best case study may not be your favourite project
Think carefully about which of your projects help to demonstrate the competencies. For example, it might be better to discuss a smaller task that you completed from start to finish or something that went wrong and you had to resolve, rather than your largest or most impressive development.
Use the competency wording
Make it as easy as possible for your assessors to identify where you meet the competencies by using the terminology from the competencies and guidance in your own writing. Don’t expect them to infer where you have achieved them… spell it out!
Seek support and ask for guidance
Speak to people who have been through the APC process, ask what challenges they faced and the best way to tackle these, talk through your case studies with others and get an APC mentor. While it’s an individually written submission, it doesn’t have to be a lonely process.
Reflect throughout your submission
One of the main skills to demonstrate is your ability to be reflective as you work through your submission. Try to reference areas where you developed over time, learned from previous experiences or adapted your approach the next time. These should be included in your reflective journal and then could then form part of your PDP.