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What does a town planner do – and how can you become one?

Town planners play a vital role in shaping everything from our towns and villages to the historical buildings that dot the British landscape. Responsible for ensuring the healthy development of specific areas through the recommendations that they make, a good town planner can have a massive impact on the community that they serve- sometimes, without you even noticing it.

Town planning is predicted to be one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors over the next few decades. With a 70% increase in growth forecast within the global construction industry by 2025, and the UK’s expertise in the area of planning finally being recognised, it’s likely that the demand for skilled town planners will skyrocket in coming years, providing you with the perfect opportunity to start your career.

But what does a town planner do- and how can you get started?

Planning our urban world

Working in urban planning allows you to balance your interests in development with that of sustainability, doing your bit to make cities and towns run more efficiently. In a rapidly urbanising world, town planners are an essential part of the construction process, as they are responsible for balancing the conflicting demands that come with developing new projects. They take into account housing, transport, the environment, industry and more to create a solution that works for everybody, before offering their recommendations and allowing appropriate development to happen.

It’s not just new builds that town planners can get stuck into, either: in today’s overcrowded cities, regeneration offers a vital way to sustainably reshape the urban landscape in a way that suits both local businesses and communities. You’ll be acting as a mediator between construction companies and the general public, writing and explaining regulations and rules as well as attending town planning sessions. It’s an incredibly diverse role: from the town to the cities, being a town planner will let you really challenge yourself. Indeed, whether you’re using the latest software to plan out your creative and original solutions, or helping groups express their opinions at planning meetings, you’ll always be learning and working at the cutting edge of the changing construction industry.

Town Planning

Starting your career

With 94% of the 20 largest employers in the planning industry saying that they expect to see staff growth in coming years, there’s never been a better time to start your career as a town planner. It will require you to be creative, work with a huge, diverse range of people and have an interest in improving the spaces in which people live, work and relax. To do this, you’ll need superior communication and analytical skills, which will be essential throughout your entire town planning career.

Work experience is highly regarded by many employers. It’s also an invaluable way of gaining an insight into town planning as an industry, and whether a life as a town planner would be suited to you. Seek out opportunities to shadow experienced town planners, meet with potential mentors and speak to people already within the industry to further understand their roles and responsibilities.

Getting the right degree

A degree is crucial for most town planners. Though there are specific degrees that are available in town planning- which need to be accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute, the organisation that manages and sets the standard for town planners across the country- you can also start your career with a non-specific degree such as law, geography, engineering or urban studies. After this, you’ll be required to enrol in a postgraduate qualification, approved by the RTPI, which will train you further in the skills you need to become a town planner and let you diversify into areas like community engagement, conservation or urban design.

Once you’ve completed your initial RTPI qualifications, you can move on and apply to gain chartered status by taking the RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence. Though you need at least 24 months’ planning experience beforehand, it will allow you to move on and into more senior positions.

With so many options ahead of you, the future is looking bright.

Kick start your career with Anderselite

At Anderselite, we pride ourselves on matching the best candidates to the freshest jobs in town planning. Our years of expertise means that we know the market like nobody else:

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