Why did you choose Cardiff University as a place to study?
The placement opportunity offered on the course was one of the elements that first attracted me. The university and the city also have a great friendly atmosphere and during the open day I thought it was somewhere I would be happy.
What was the best thing about your time as a student at Cardiff?
I enjoyed the lifestyle and enjoyed living in a city with a big student population.
What one thing would you tell someone else about the School of City & Regional Planning at Cardiff?
The joint research/teaching focus of the lecturers means they really know their stuff, especially in their own areas of interest.
How did your degree most help you in the career or job you have now chosen?
I felt better equipped to do my job having done both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses than other newly qualified colleagues who had just done a postgraduate planning qualification. I think the environmental and planning law modules were one of the biggest factors in this, but the longer 4+1 year course also gave me a much wider breadth of planning knowledge and has allowed me to explore my own areas of interest to a much greater extent.
Tell us a bit about your current job, how you got into what you are doing and what you enjoy about it most.
I am currently employed by Worcestershire County Council as a planning assistant. Four graduate planners were appointed at the same time and we have each been given the opportunity to undertake 6 months in development control and 6 months in policy before expressing a preference for one or the other. In development control I dealt with minerals and waste and the county council applications for things like schools and libraries. I processed these applications, sent consultation letters and arranged for public notices to be erected. I then visited the site, considered the application and took consultation comments into account to draft a report. These reports were reviewed by colleagues but formed the main basis of delegated or committee reports for determining the application. In policy I prepared background reports to inform the waste core strategy (a plan setting out waste planning policy in the county for the next 25 years) these reports have considered composting and other treatment of green waste, clinical and low level radioactive waste and the climate change impacts of waste management activities. I also went on a number of site visits to discuss current and future issues with waste operators.
The switch between DC and policy was a great opportunity to try the different areas of work. It also gives a more rounded idea of how the two elements are symbiotic in nature and must complement each other. I developed an interest in county matters during my work placement on the BSc course, I am however interested in the environmental aspects and the job role promises the opportunity to develop my interests in this area in the future.
What opportunities do you feel have opened up to you as a result of being a student at the Cardiff School of City & Regional Planning?
Undertaking the MSc opened a greater range of planning job opportunities to me than would otherwise have been available and the work experience seemed to be a big plus in interviews.
Tell us any interesting facts about yourself, hobbies or interests that you have.
I ran the Cardiff half marathon twice whilst at Cardiff University. I now do boxercise and circuit training and have recently tried to learn to samba (although dancing doesn't appear to be one of my strengths).