Apprentice to Professional
Alison - Planning Officer
I joined Devon County Council (DCC) in 2017 as a Planning Apprentice within the School Place Planning team. At the time, I wasn’t overly sure what the planning profession entailed or whether I would suit it, however I thought it was a good opportunity to gain some experience given that I was unsure of what I would study if I were to carry onto university.
Throughout my apprenticeship at DCC, I have been able to progress from my initial role to a Graduate Trainee Planner, Assistant Planning Officer and through to my current role as a Planning Officer within the Climate Change, Environment and Transport Directorate.
My current role consists of managing a caseload of planning applications in relation to waste, minerals and county council developments as well as working on infrastructure delivery at South West Exeter including a new community building and public realm enhancements.
Alongside this, I have been undertaking the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Level 7 Chartered Town Planning Degree Apprenticeship. As part of this, I was enrolled onto the Town Planning MSc at The University of Plymouth which I attended one day a week for two years. Since graduating this Summer, I am currently working towards submission of my Assessment of Professional Competence to complete my degree apprenticeship and become a Chartered Member of the RTPI.
Most apprentices will tell you that the key benefit of an apprenticeship is the ability to be able to gain practical experience within the workplace alongside progressing your studies. In my case, this really has been vital to my career progression, to the point where the practical experience of the apprentice students on my course has been utilised in lectures to those on the full-time programme without any experience of the workplace.
As the world of
apprenticeship keeps expanding, I would really encourage everyone to look at
the apprenticeship options for the study topics they are interested in. When I
left college for an apprenticeship, I was told numerous times that this would
limit my professional growth, however there has been the complete opposite
outcome as I now have a Masters Degree and am on route to become a Chartered
Member of the RTPI.