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Transport Planner
Matrix Planning and Consultancy

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Caption: Wiam, Transport Planner, Matrix Planning & Consultancy
00:03 My name’s Wiam Saad and I’m a Transport Planner, working for Matrix Transport Planning & Consultancy firm.
00:07 We do traffic surveys but because it’s a private consultancy firm we only just deal with new developments or existing developments that are kind of wanting extensions done.
00:16 I went to Parkwood High School initially. It’s now Parkwood Academy, I think, and then I went to King Edward School.
00:22 I didn’t do the conventional route. I did AS Levels and then I did an 18+ Design and Art Foundation course and I initially got into Architecture, but I switched to Town Planning from Architecture.
00:33 I studied at Sheffield because of a combination with it being quite local and also because of the reputation of the school.
00:39 While I was studying Architecture, I was a carer at the same time and even though obviously the university’s very supportive of that, I did use it as an opportunity to kind of look and reflect back on what I actually do want to study and where my interests lay and that’s why I went to Planning ad I think as well, it’s not to underestimate it as well, the way the department also changes your way of thinking in general, not just in terms of Planning, so and just it kind of makes you re-evaluate your values.
01:06 The turning point was just getting help in place because I was kind of doing a lot of the caring on my own and that did kind of make things a little bit difficult and once I got the help in place, that did provide an opportunity to kind of re-evaluate where my interests really lay and what route I sort of wanted to pursue.
01:22 It was, at the time, it was very challenging, to the point where I didn’t think that university was for me, but when I re-evaluated it, I did think that it was just a case of circumstances and not necessarily ability. I think that’s why I feel like I’ll always sort of be grateful for the university in the way that they supported me throughout my studies and made it possible.
01:38 Because my brother had dyslexia, we did start to think that maybe I should probably get sort of examined for dyslexia back in school. But they thought that it was just a language barrier but even though English was my first language. But, so I wasn’t properly diagnosed with it until I got to university, in my first year. I was sent off for an examination and they confirmed that it was on the spectrum of dyslexia, so yeah.
02:04 Then my dyslexia tutor, she completely changed the way I sort of performed in terms of my essays and making me think as well, sort of differently in the way that I discussed the subject at hand. So she was the one person that I have to say really, really helped me throughout my studies because it wasn’t just a case of helping me with my sort of structure and grammar. It was an overall different outlook.
02:27 I think one of the main things that really gave me confidence in my final year was that the more help that I got from the dyslexia tutor, the more I realised that it wasn’t a case of I can’t do this, it was just that I don’t have the right tools and I did and that’s kind of what gave me the real confidence to pursue and that I did perform more strongly in my final year. So I think it’s directly related when you’ve got the support in place to how well you succeed, I guess.
02:53 I mean it’s not necessarily severe dyslexia. It is dyslexia and I mean I do notice it in my day to day work now because obviously I don’t have the sort of, I guess the tutoring. But, you know, I think as long as you have a discussion with your employer and they’re kind of quite understanding to it, it’s not a problem at all.
03:11 So I chose Sheffield because it was local and it’s got a very good reputation, especially the Town Planning school and it’s got a very good social life as well for students.
03:19 It was just real hands on experience in terms of Planning Consultancy and you did get to see a variation between the public sector and the private sector and it helps you as well when you want to decide after you’ve graduated, whether you want to go into sort of local authority or consultancy.
03:35 When I reflected back on my experience at Sheffield, I found that the school was very supportive of people that were especially from disadvantaged backgrounds and in terms of supporting you through your studies and anything else, in terms of guiding you post graduation.
03:47 The main advice would be, don’t give up. I think I had plenty of moments where I did give up but luckily I had a good support network in terms of my mum and she was always kind of encouraging me to continue and also don’t question your ability, always think that it’s just things that I need to sort out in terms of I need to get the right tools or I need to get the right support in place in order to be successful.


Wiam started an architecture degree after studying an 18 plus design and art foundation course. Combining study with caring responsibilities made Wiam reflect on where her interests really lay and she decided to switch to town planning. She now works for a planning consultancy which specialises in new developments.

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average salary

The UK average salary is ÂŁ28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

29%  female  71%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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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