Graduate Planning Consultant at Lichfields

Charlotte Cook

Charlotte CookMasters programme, year of graduation and current role

I studied an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning and graduated in 2016. I currently work as a Planner at Lichfields, a planning and development consultancy in the UK. I am based in their London office.

How has your Masters prepared you and given you transferable skills for your current role?

Undertaking my Masters at University of Birmingham was a vital step in my planning career. The course was accredited by the Royal Institute of Town Planners, so it enabled me to start the process of becoming a Chartered Town Planner. Aside from the academic side of things, the course taught me a number of transferable skills which I have carried with me through to the workplace. Notable skills for me include both the importance of team work, and verbal communication, which I enhanced through being involved in a number of group projects. These projects allowed me to explore current issues in planning, ranging from large scale regeneration schemes, to looking at the importance of community involvement. Working on real life projects provided an excellent grounding for my job as a Planning Consultant. It is vitally important to gain experience outside, as well as in, the lecture room. This comprehensive grasp and wide-ranging skillset really helped me to adjust to the transition from student to a working professional.

What support have you had to help you make the move from your Masters to your job? For example from mentors, academics or Careers Network?

I found University of Birmingham an excellent help when starting the search for a graduate job. Our lecturers would email us all job opportunities from around the UK and advise us on the destinations of previous graduates. I found
the CV checking service the Careers Network offered really helpful, as your CV is the fundamental tool to getting a first round interview. I struggled with making my CV both concise and informative so having someone to read drafts and suggest improvements was a great help.

Please add any tips or advice for postgraduates looking to enter the job market

My advice would be to start early, as writing CVs and applications forms, undertaking psychometric testing and interview preparation all takes time. I found it difficult to balance this with full-time study, so little and often was an approach that worked for me. It is important to spend time thoroughly researching the companies you are interested in to find out their work ethic and values, as you want the company to suit you as a person. This also helps with the interview process, especially when asked a tricky question about the company!

Lichfield Planning is the foremost planning consultancy in the UK covering 17 build environment sectors and offering 17 planning services. It has around £16m in turnover and 8 offices in the UK including London and the regions. Lichfields offers graduate schemes in a range of planning related graduate areas.


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