Assistant Planner

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Caption: Michael, Assistant Partner, CBRE
00:03 I’m Michael. I work for CBRE as an Assistant pPanner. I’m on their graduate scheme, so I’ve been working there for about 14 months. CBRE is a real estate services adviser. It’s an American firm and I work in the Manchester office. And I’ve been there since I left the University of Sheffield.
00:23 The skills that I needed for Planning, is to be analytical. I think Planning is a really rich subject and area because it brings together sociology, it brings together law and it brings together politics.
00:37 I think of myself as a project manager, bringing together lots of different areas of the property industry.
00:45 Architects plan along with public sector planners and private sector planning consultants are a conduit between those two and also are able to shape both sides. So we  guide and influence, but we don’t necessarily plan per se.
01:01 I went to to university slightly later than what’s usual. I’m 28 now, so I went to university when I was 22.
01:08 Before that I worked in a hotel. I was a restaurant supervisor and duty manager of a hotel back in my home town of Southampton.
01:16 After my A Levels, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I decided to take some time out and go travelling.
01:22 When I went travelling first time, I went round Europe. I used to own a motor home.
01:27 We named it Eric, after my granddad. So we went round Europe for 6 months, travelled around, went to 20 odd countries first time around.
01:35 Then eventually I decided I wanted to go to university, so I decided to re-take a couple of my A Levels and whilst I did that, I took on a full-time role in the hotel in which I was working at.
01:47 I don’t feel I had too much of an input from my parents, throughout my schooling life. When I was 11, my parents divorced.
01:56 My dad’s in the army or at least he is coming towards the end of his time in the army, so he was away a lot when I was at school. He was in Afghanistan and he was in Iraq and I was at school age Year 8, Year 8, Year 9 when those things were going on, so there were periods of time when my dad wasn’t around.
02:13 What did my mum do? So she worked at the school I went to, so she was an administrator and that’s what my mum did.
02:22 My first set of A Levels were a bit of a disaster. I only actually passed Business Studies because all I wanted to do at that time was  to go abroad and travel. I decided to re-take my A Levels so I could get into a good university and my first one which I went back to do was English. with the NEC, that’s the National Extension College.
02:43 And I did that around my job and I also did History and that was an evening class at a local college. So I did these parallel to working, which was quite a tough couple of years.
02:56 Having an interest in an area or in a subject, I think is absolutely vital. it’s about having that emotional engagement and emotional connection to a subject.
03:06 And when I was at university, in my first year, I went to speak to careers advisers and I told careers adviser what it is that I liked. At the time I was very interested in politics, very interested in public policy, very interested in housing and how the way things are affect people’s psychology and the way they live and how they influence communities and so I said all of this to a careers adviser.
03:33 This was in my first year, I’m an undergraduate, and she said to me, mm, sounds like you want to be a Town Planner and that was, I think, the first  time I’d ever heard that phrase before. I didn’t know what Town Planning was , I didn’t know that one could have a profession or a career in it, so after speaking to this careers adviser. I then went away, read about Town Planning, read about what options may be open to me in that career path and thought, this is absolutely perfect, this is exactly what I was trying to articulate but couldn’t because I didn’t know that that job role existed.
04:04 So yeah the advice I’d give my younger self is, just be yourself, you do what you want to do and just make sure you’re happy.


“My first set of A-levels were a bit of a disaster…because all I wanted to do at that time was to go abroad and travel.” Michael came back to the UK and retook some of his A-levels at evening classes while working full-time in a hotel. He went on to university where a careers advisor suggested town planning would combine his various interests in politics, public policy and housing.

More information about Town planning officers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

70%  male 
30%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Town planning officers direct or undertake the planning of the layout and the co-ordination of plans for the development of urban and rural areas.
Entrants usually possess either an accredited degree or postgraduate qualification and must have completed at least two years’ work experience in town planning before gaining professional status.
  • Analyses information to establish the nature, extent, growth rate and likely development requirements of the area;
  • Consults statutory bodies and other interested parties to ensure that local interests are catered for and to evaluate competing development proposals;
  • Drafts and presents graphic and narrative plans affecting the use of public and private land, housing and transport facilities;
  • Examines and evaluates development proposals submitted and recommends acceptance, modification or rejection;
  • Liaises with national and local government and other bodies to advise on urban and regional planning issues.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Architectural & related 13234
Advertising, etc 6080
Public admin. & defence 3353
Real estate 1389
Head offices, etc 1128
Other professional 1064
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