I enjoy the variety of work which I am given significant autonomy over, allowing me to learn and progress...

Ben Parkes student profile
Ben Parkes
Graduate Planner - Savills
MPlan Urban Studies and Planning Graduate
USP Graduate Ben Parkes talks about his new role with Savills and how studying the MPlan at Sheffield helped him to develop the skills needed for a career in planning.

Can you tell us what a typical day in your role is like?

A typical day would include completing a report (e.g. planning statement); assessing the planning potential of a site; and, communication with members of my team and other property professionals who I may be working on a project with. 

What attracted you to this role, and what aspect do you enjoy the most?

The variety of projects by working with a multi-disciplinary consultancy  was a major draw; as was the established graduate scheme which provides various types of support.

I enjoy the variety of work which I am given significant autonomy over which allows me to learn/progress. 

What skills did you learn during your degree that you use in your career?

  • Report writing – the majority of work completed is written in report format and is important to be able to write succinctly within these;
  • Analysis of significant issues – the planning issues identified at University are ones you will deal with at work; the understanding of what these issues are, why they are important, and most importantly how they can be overcame are critical to all types of planning roles;
  • Communication with team members (group projects) – working with others is key for all types of jobs with regular work with other consultees such as architects, ecologists and engineers; as well as other people within your company. Group work at University helps provide understanding how to work as a group with different types of people. And, 
  • Software skills – including PowerPoint, mapping programmes and design software – although the specific software may be different, most jobs expect (especially of junior team members) to use a variety of software which can help support other work. For instance, I use ARCGIS regularly to help understand the constraints of sites; and, I use a design software to create designs for buildings to give clients an idea of what can be built on a site. 

Why did you choose to study in USP at Sheffield?

Dual accreditation (RICS and RTPI); top ranked course; liked the city/university. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying/looking for work in your field? 

Get as much work experience as possible with variation of companies/types of work – this will help understand what aspects of the job you may like, helping narrow down who you may want to apply for.  Also, Keep in contact with people you have work experience with and course mates.

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