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Hyacynth share's their experience as a Graduate Town Planner

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

I graduated from the University of Westminster in BA Designing Cities: Planning and Architecture and MA International Planning and Sustainable Development and I come from both a planning and design background.


What is your role and how long have you been here?

I am a Graduate Town Planner as part of the Town Planning Team and have been in this role for a little over a year now.

What inspired you to apply for this role/this company?

Coming out from university, I knew I wanted to find a role that is both fulfilling and meaningful – not only for myself but especially for those around me. An additional source of inspiration came also from my personal background with both my parents working for the NHS. When I came across the company and particularly the role as a Graduate Town Planner, I believed it met my professional goal in starting and finding my footing in my career, but also a personal goal in undertaking work that will genuinely and directly contribute towards the betterment of the lives of all people.

What has been the single most important thing you learnt so far in your job?

Readiness to adapt. Particularly in my role, while planning is process-based, often that process is not being adhered to or rather it is not being properly followed or applied, because of this I have learnt the need to be adaptable. Which, I think as part of the bigger picture with healthcare needs prone to changes, it is also a skill which I learnt is also required in the company.

What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?

Each day has been different and more often than not, it would include working in different areas. Normal days in my role would consist of putting together Planning Appraisals, Planning Statements to support wider projects within the Team and for external Teams, and this would also consist of work in responding to Planning Queries and sometimes working and supporting on S106 work-streams. One task that has always been a part of my day-to-day is monitoring and responding to planning consultations that are of interest and are relevant to the work-streams which we are working on. This requires an initial review of consultation documents to determine whether a response would be needed and the kind of response this would require.

What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?

With Town Planning, more often than not, you will not be working on sites/projects that are of the exact same context because of the national scale in which we work in. What’s most interesting is this process of learning about each unique site, from the local area and local policy context, and from this being able to understand and communicate the difference between what can be done on a site as to what should be done. Another thing which is of great interest, particularly to NHSPS, is the scale of influence that our work can potentially have as we have had opportunities to work on multiple scales, even to contributing nationally.

What is the company culture like?

I would describe the company culture as being supportive, that is supportive of one another in collaboration and supportive of one’s learning. It is an extremely collaborative environment and one which is open to learning from one another whilst also encourages opportunities and time to be taken to explore our specific professional interests for our own growth, which in turn causes us to have greater capacity to support each other and the company through our own unique interests and individual strengths.

How important is diversity to you and what is your team doing in this space at the moment?

It is a naturally and extremely welcoming environment already. The Team is effortlessly diverse and each member embraces and respects diversity within the Team always with a willingness to hear each other out. So, I don’t think there is anything which needs to happen with the intention to create a space for diversity – it already is.

Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a similar role?

From my own personal experience, as I came straight out of university and had limited experience, it was helpful for me to first understand the kind of work the Team and the Company undertake and then to understand my own skill set and strengths. Despite my lack of experience, this helped me understand and be able to communicate what I could bring to the Team, and above all I think it is extremely important to be willing and dedicated to learn – since there is so much to learn and many people to learn from, so it’s important to have an attitude that is ready to learn!