Katie Child, a field-based inspector at the Planning Inspectorate says that working for smaller, rural councils can be great for gaining varied experience. She tells us about how she started working at PINS.
Where do you work and what does it involve?
I work for the Planning Inspectorate, as a field-based Inspector. I deal with planning appeals and Local Plans/CIL work across England. The mix of development management and policy work means the job is really varied.
Why did you decide to make the switch to your current planning role?
I’d worked in local government for about 20 years and felt it was the right time to move on and experience a different dimension to planning. I’d been thinking about a career with PINS for a while after being impressed with the professionalism of various local plan inspectors I’d come across. I was also attracted by the training and travel opportunities not available in my previous job.
What is the most important thing you’ve done to boost your career prospects?
Working for a small rural district council in a high growth area. In a small authority you tend to get more responsibility at an earlier stage in your career, and I gained lots of hands-on policy experience planning for thousands of homes. It was also a pro-growth authority, so we were able to achieve things and make positive plans to shape the area. I was given a lot of freedom to be creative and we devised a very different approach to plan-making which involved working in partnership with Parish Councils.
What’s your advice for other planners seeking to change jobs?
Don’t expect to automatically walk into your dream job. Identify what skills and experience you need to attain it, and try and use your current role to build up your CV and get as much experience as you can – sometimes easier said than done!
To read more from the Planner 2015 Guide to Career Development please click here.