Why did you choose Cardiff University as a place to study?
Advertised as the best planning course in the UK and it also allowed me to stay home to study (saving a fortune!).
What was the best thing about your time as a student at Cardiff?
What thing or person inspired you most whilst you were a Cardiff University student?
I enjoyed learning about planning systems in other countries. I now have a pipe dream about becoming a Canadian planner.
What one thing would you tell someone else about the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff?
The lectures are a lot lighter than other courses (in quantity), but you really have to make up for it in terms of workload. Expect to spend many weekends in doing independent research.
How did your degree most help you in the career or job you have now chosen?
I was dead set on a career in planning, but found that I was competing against highly experienced planners that had been made redundant in the current economic climate. Obtaining the highest First Class Honours Degree in Planning counted for nothing; and I wasn’t even offered an interview for the ten planning jobs I applied for.
However, with a Distinction in MSc Housing, I was able to apply for a more specialised ‘Housing Strategy’ role. This meant I was competing against 10-20 applicants instead of 70-100. I was offered an interview, and was successful due to my background in planning, more recent knowledge of housing and experience in specialised IT packages (such as MapInfo and SPSS). Knowledge of advanced Excel features also went a long way.
Tell us a bit about your current job, how you got into what you are doing and what you enjoy about it most.
I have been in post for over a year. I recently completed the Local Housing Market Assessment internally; and saved the Council £100,000 in consultancy fees. No other Council in Wales has been able to do this and still rely on consultants to produce their Assessments.
I have also written the Affordable Housing SPG and mostly enjoy negotiating affordable housing provision on planning applications. This has allowed me to keep my hand in the planning side of the role.
What opportunities do you feel have opened up to you as a result of being a student at the School of Geography and Planning?
I couldn’t have applied for such a specialised role without the Housing MSc. Although my heart is still in planning, I never had a chance competing against 100 experienced applicants for generic planning jobs.
On this basis, I would definitely advise undergraduates to specialise in an area of planning when they have finished their BSc.
Tell us any interesting facts about yourself, hobbies or interests that you have.
I’m an avid fan of the Cardiff Devils, play badminton twice a week and love hip-hop.