Graduate Planner
Ashfield District Council

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Caption: Olly, Trainee Planner, Ashfield District Council
00:03 My name’s Olly Wells. I work for Ashfield District Council Planning Department. My role is to be a Trainee Planner but my title is Graduate Planner.
00:13 I think Planning’s an incredibly broad thing and it’s quite complex. I think there’s a lot of areas of Planning, but fundamentally for me, Planning is the study of space and how we can create better places, really.
00:28 Best bit about my job is adding value to situations. I work in development management, I process applications and when someone sends me the plans, I can call them back and say to the architect, can you just perhaps change the design in certain ways because that’s going to reduce the impact on perhaps the neighbour. And that is just a micro-version of how we can add value to situations, so that’s one of the best bits of my job.
01:03 I suppose one of the worst bits currently is I’m currently commuting a fair bit on public transport, which is not sustainable in Planning really. You do need to have to have the independence of a car. So I’m currently learning and fingers crossed, in sort of January, February, I’ll be on the road
01:20 At school I wasn’t necessarily sure  of what I wanted to do and it was only until the 6th Form, I enjoyed Geography and it was my parents who really told me, you know, go for something that you’re interested in.
01:30 I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t necessarily have any passion for any particular subject, so you know, it’s difficult at that point. I think that gap between school and college is quite important. Even if you don’t necessarily know you’re going to enjoy the next part which is crucial to then obviously then getting to university, it’s definitely an important part to really think about what you might enjoy and therefore research those subjects.
02:01 A lot of people even come out of university and still aren’t sure what they want to do. But I would always be an advocate of going to university because it’s such a great experience anyway.
02:11 Geography was what attracted me to then becoming a University of Sheffield Planning student because it was the attraction of cities and I think that’s why all Planning students end up taking an Urban Planing course or other other related specialisms because they enjoy cities and what they’re about. I mean interestingly my grandfather was a Planner but that actually hasn’t, you know, that hasn’t been the overriding motivation. It’s always just nice to talk to him about it.
02:42 The skills I could bring to Planning would be, I think I would be good to adapt to different situations with different types of people. That is very much what Planning is about. It’s about a range of stakeholders and you are essentially the mediator. I like the idea of being able to cooperate and communicate with a range of different people.
03:05 I’ve worked in call centres, supermarkets, delicatessens,I’ve done the knocking on door, cold-calling. You know, it’s challenging but nonetheless helped me, I think, in certain interview situations perhaps.
03:22 I want to affect a lot of people in positive ways.
03:26 I would like to achieve, firstly to become chartered. So to become chartered in Planning you’ll need to do approximately 2 years in the field.
03:39 I’ve got a long time now to really make a difference and that’s the key thing.


“It was my parents who told me – go for something you’re interested in.” Olly wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he was at school, but he enjoyed geography at sixth-form which led him to town planning. He likes being able to influence designs and suggest improvements. He is not so keen on commuting on public transport and hopes to pass his driving test soon.

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.
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