Where do you work?
I currently work as a planning officer in the Local Development Plan team in Derry City & Strabane District Council. I have been working in the council for the past six months and I have recently graduated with a masters in City Planning & Design.
Tell us about your route into planning
I have always been interested in design and human geography which I studied for A level, with an interest in how people interact within the built environment. I recently completed my master’s degree in City Planning & Design at Queens University Belfast and before that I completed a three-year BSc course in Planning, Environment & Development. During my four years studying planning, I gained valuable insight into planning from a local to European context, working on a variety of projects and attending field trips, which have developed my planning skills.
While studying for my masters I worked as a student planner in Donegal County Council where I worked in Development Management. This gave me a flavour for working within the public sector of planning and helped me to gain valuable experience for future employment. I would say that the best advice I could give any student is to put themselves out there and gain as much experience as possible before they leave university as this enabled me to secure my current planning role. As a newly qualified planner I am excited to see where my career in planning will lead me.
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
I work in the local development plan team within the Council, where the team is working towards completion of the current plan. This is a document that will help shape and guide development decisions within the Council area over a period. My role currently involves surveying, researching, and helping to aid the progression of this document which long term will provide benefits for members of the public.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
As a planner on a daily basis, I help the public within the local community by providing professional recommendations and advice. As a newly qualified planner I am keen to learn how I can use my role in the future to help benefit the local/wider community, through planning decisions or from community planning efforts.
My spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
When I am not working, I enjoy socialising with my family and friends, playing the piano, going runs to the beach and travelling; in particular, short city breaks as often as possible!