The MPlan course is great, you learn how the UK planning systems works and it's relevance to the work you will do in your day-to-day job as a planner

Bethany Firkins USP graduate
Bethany Firkins
Consultant for Centro Planning
MPlan Urban Studies and Planning graduate
MPlan Urban Studies and Planning student Bethany Firkins discusses her time as a student at Sheffield and her career since graduating.

What is your current job role and what does it typically look like on a daily basis?

I work as a planning consultant for Centro Planning Consultancy, who are a start-up company based in central London. My role includes working for a number of clients to prepare major planning applications for commercial, residential and mixed-use redevelopment on complex urban sites. Day to day I project manage a team of up to 13 consultants of a range of disciplines working on development proposals, have meetings with the Council to discuss development proposals, evaluate the development potential of sites, review local and national policy, attend public consultation events and write technical and persuasive reports for development proposals that are submitted the Council.

What aspect of your current job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the project management side, coordinating and having meetings with various consultants to provide a robust planning application. This has extended my knowledge to a variety of disciplines including ecology, architecture, fire safety, transport planning and heritage. Working in a consultancy is very fast-paced, and you get to work on a wide range of projects with lots of different companies and disciplines which is great.

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

My research and report writing skills have been very important for my every day work. Also the background knowledge to the UK planning system has also been very useful. Development of my presentation skills allowed me to feel more confident in public speaking in my current job.

Why did you choose to study in USP at Sheffield?

I chose the subject because I loved human Geography at A-Level and have always loved cities and the urban environment. I went to an open day and saw there was a course called urban studies & planning (which I had never heard of) and thought it looked interesting. The course content seemed very interesting, and that's why I chose it.

What advice would you offer to current A Level students thinking of studying planning at university?

I would say do some research into the course content to see what course would be best for you. If you do a Geography and Planning degree this will allow you to be more flexible with the subjects you take. If you think you want a career in town planning after university, the MPlan course is great as it's quite vocational in the sense that it teaches you how the UK planning systems works and is relevant to the work you will do in your day-to-day job as a planner, and is also accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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