Starting out as an apprentice: Alex Smith
As part of National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March), The Planner spoke to Alex Smith, who is taking part in the RTPI’s apprenticeship scheme.
Alex is undertaking his apprenticeship as a planning technician, at Sedgemore District Council and attends Bridgwater and Taunton College. He is studying the BTEC Level 3 Town Planning Technical Support course.
Q: Where did you see the apprenticeship role advertised and what made you apply for it?
A: I found the apprenticeship advertised on the government apprenticeship website, the role advertised sounded interesting being both academic and work place based. I was intending to carry on to study A-Levels but also wanted explore other avenues.
Q: What does the job entail – what sort of work are you doing?
A: The job entails carrying out site visits, collating the planning data, report writing, liaising with members of the public with their planning applications. These applications can cover households, listed buildings and conservation issues.
Q: What kind of work do your studies involve?
A: I attend college fortnightly; the course is based around both practical and theory knowledge assignments.
Q: What sort of supervision and support do you get?
A: The course tutors are always available to answer any queries, which we may have with regards to our assignments.
Q: Were you looking for a job / career in planning?
A: Initially after leaving school I was going onto to study A-Levels at the local college, but I was also looking to explore other avenues and came across the advertisement on the apprenticeship website. Up until this point I had never thought of a career in planning.
Q: Is it what you expected it to be?
A: The role is more varied than I ever expected and I was surprised how quickly I picked up the role in a short period. The team members have all been very helpful in passing on their experience and knowledge.
Q: What will your next steps be following your apprenticeship? When does it conclude?
A: My next step will be to pursue further education by attending university and gaining a degree in planning.
Q: Do you have any advice for people looking for apprenticeships, or seeking a role in planning?
A: Just keep looking at the government website. If planning is a career path that you would like to follow contact your local planning department and arrange for some work experience.
Information about RTPI apprenticeship schemes can be found on the institute's website.