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Helping you find a career in the Town planning industry

Roles in town planning are concerned with the construction and development of urban spaces. Every area of a town or city that you’ve been to has been carefully thought through, drawn up, approved and then monitored by town planners.

The areas that town planners can work across is vast, covering transport, urban design, utilities, regeneration and environmental. As the work is so broad, many choose to specialise within a certain area after a few years of experience.

Town planners are partly responsible for making sure that all private and public buildings comply with regulations. Some are also involved with the development of planning policies and creating plans for the conservation of heritage buildings.

It is also part of the job of a town planner to remain up to date with planning policies and new laws, and to advise on project proposals to ensure that they are passed.

There is currently a large skills shortage in the town planning industry as many town planners chose to change their career paths during the 2008 recession. This means that for those who are just thinking of joining, there will be opportunities for quick progression and higher salaries than in previous years.


Skills & interests required for a career in Town planning
Town planners need to have a logical mind to work within planning policy regulations, but also creative to come up with conceptual designs for urban areas.

Good communication skills are also essential, as town planners will work with many different teams and will have to explain their designs to others who are not familiar with planning policies. Similarly, you may have to explain why a certain problem with a project breaches regulations.

Town planners work on multiple projects at once, so organisational skills are crucial.
- Communication
- Organisation
- Problem Solving
- Written Communication
Town planning apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
As a school leaver, you would need to source an apprenticeship in planning. You would begin as a town planning technician, which is more of a supporting role to someone who is a chartered town planner.

With experience, you would progress to a senior town planning technician and eventually could be leading a team.

Alternatively, planning technicians can pursue the necessary qualifications to become a chartered planner. These are the equivalent of post-graduate level qualifications. As a chartered planner you would have more responsibility over planning projects.
Tips for getting into the field
Volunteering or work experience will provide hands-on experience of the workplace and enable you to see what they day-to-day work would be like as a town planner. Experience is incredibly important in this industry and this will help you to stand out above other candidates.
What do Town planning professionals get paid?
Qualified town planning technicians earn between £16,000 and £30,000 a year. As an apprentice, the minimum pay is £3.50 an hour.

The pay is higher for town planners. The starting salary is £20,000 and can increase to up to £45,000 with experience.

The head of planning and development in local government can earn between £55,000 and £100,000.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Town planning?
To become a town planner you will need to get the relevant qualifications that will be the equivalent to a postgraduate degree.

There are apprenticeships available that will enable you to work in town planning technical support. This is less responsibility than a town planning role, but there may be the option for your employer to sponsor you through the courses required to become a fully qualified town planner. The entry requirements for these apprenticeships are dependent on the employer, but will likely need 5 strong GCSEs.

There is a degree apprenticeship that is currently in development for town planning that the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is hoping to launch in September 2018.
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