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11/02/2019

Q&A: My planning journey

Words: The Planner
A journey

A classic entry point into the profession for new planners is the graduate scheme, and many organisations offer their own variation on this. But what’s it like? We asked Owen Horrell, a principal planner with Pegasus Group, to tell us about his first steps into the profession

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What attracted you to a career in planning?

Owen Horrell: My first experience of Town Planning was during a week of work experience at my local council, Wokingham Borough Council, during 2009 while I was still in sixth form. This was an eye-opening week and the enthusiasm of one of the policy planners at the council at the time, who guided me during the week, really came across passionately and persuaded me that that previously unheard-of career as a ‘town planner’ was worth pursuing.

What was your first job in planning?

Owen: I joined Pegasus Group in June 2013, as a Graduate Planner straight from Cardiff University, having just completed my undergraduate degree, which included a year in industry.

I’ve spent the last five-and-a-half years in the Pegasus Cirencester office, where I have been able to work on a wide range of interesting and varied schemes – including developing considerable experience with renewable energy schemes, especially solar. At the time, in 2013, the Pegasus graduate training scheme focused on mentorship and supporting senior colleagues.

"As my confidence, experience and understanding of renewable energy and the planning system grew, the roles I undertook increased and I progressed new projects independently"

What did the graduate scheme offer you as a new planner?

Owen: From an early stage of my career at Pegasus Group, I was exposed to direct client interaction and was able to dive into the deep end of large projects in which I have since become very competent and one of the most experienced within our company. At the beginning this was a slightly daunting prospect, but as my confidence, experience and understanding of renewable energy and the planning system grew, the roles I undertook increased and I progressed new projects independently, but with supervision.

Did you feel well supported in your progress through the scheme?

Owen: Pegasus Group supported me in undertaking my masters degree at the University of the West of England and are presently aiding my progression to become a Chartered Town Planner with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The company has recognised my hard work and progression in promoting me to Planner, Senior Planner and most recently to the position of Principal Planner.

Pegasus Group continues to support me, my professional development and my desire to continue to work in the renewables sector. Allowing me to develop my own client relationships that support the continued growth and diversification of the company has been of direct benefit to me.

How has coming through the graduate scheme set you up for a career in planning?

Owen: Gaining experience in the management and leading of exciting projects from an early stage of my career, alongside the support and guidance of senior and top-class colleagues, has really placed me into a position where I could implement and develop the fundamentals taught at Cardiff University and UWE, with the practical and hands-on experience gained while in private practice on ‘actual’ schemes.

What do you think would help to attract more young people into planning as a career?

Owen: Town Planning remains a career option which many students will never think of pursuing, but is one which those in the profession should seek to promote more energetically where we can.


Find out more about careers with Pegasus Group

Pegasus Group offers new planners two routes into planning: an apprenticeship and graduate scheme.

If you’re interested in either, please do contact us to find out more. If you’re generally interested in careers with Pegasus, get in touch!

 

To find out more about careers with Pegasus Group, please visit our careers page or contact Steph.Mumford@pegasusgroup.co.uk

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