MA in Urban Design
Graduate Planning Consultant, GP Planning Limited
How has your degree experience helped you in your career?
I think having a postgraduate qualification on your CV or application will demonstrate to a potential employer that you've gone further with your education and are more likely to be career minded. More specifically, the MA in Urban Design has given me a good understanding of the context of development, it introduced me to the economical, political, social and environmental landscape which we all live and work in. Although I don't actively design development through my job, I certainly apply the visual communication skills I learnt when I prepare material to share with clients, local authorities and communities. A key part of my job is working alongside a range of other professionals - from ecologists to drainage engineers and everything in between. Having studied alongside so many different disciplines within the School of Architecture I learnt to appreciate how different roles and specialties come together and co-exist.
I would say studying Urban Design has made me appreciate what’s around me, and the way space is designed has such a big impact on the way it is used. I'm more mindful of public space as more than just a gap between buildings, but somewhere that has so many different uses for so many different people.
Where did life take you after graduation?
I'm currently in my first job since graduation and it was quite a quick turnaround. Having finished the course in September, I then got this job in December. Those few months were a blur of applications, working part time and trying to adjust from university to life.
What is your current job like?
There's no such thing as a typical day - I know it’s a cliché but everyday really is different! Some days I'll go for a site visit at a recycling operation or quarry, another day I might find myself in more of a project management role negotiating a development from an idea to a proposal, liaising with various external consultants and tracking an application through the planning system. I have my own clients, whose developments become my responsibility while they are trying to get planning permission - this can be quite stressful but at the same time so rewarding and interesting. My favourite part of my job is that I’m learning a little bit about a lot of things.
What advice would you give to a current Architecture student?
Don't let the deadlines rule your life! I'm sure 99% of graduates would say that time management is key, and I think that's probably because you have to learn the hard way. Other than that, I'd recommend making the most of the support that's on offer and ensuring you get your voice heard in group work. Overall I think it's about taking ownership of the situation, not by forcing your opinion on others or ignoring deadlines, but make sure you've got a handle on things, you take time to step back and you're always moving in the right direction.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Make the most of Sheffield! It’s one of the best cities I've been to, and when it's not on your doorstep I guarantee you'll miss it.