I first became interested in the property industry throughout my time at sixth form. I had been torn between taking the Geography, Economics or the Design route - I was looking at a way this could be combined into one profession. At the time, family members were working in the consultancy and property sector which introduced me to the profession of town planning and my passion for wanting to work in the property industry. Having studied City and Regional Planning, I was aware of Berkeley as a company within London and the south of England, and I was interested in the scale and dominance they have in the property industry. It was always prominent how Berkeley as a company differed from other UK housebuilders in their attention to detail and their proactive approach to the identification of land. This led me to strategic land planning where I am based at the moment.
So far during my time at Berkeley I have undertaken work which involves the analysis and interpretation of a district's local plan evidence base to assess the objectively assessed housing need of an area, in combination with writing representations to local councils supporting strategic applications.
In addition to this, at least once a week I get out of the office to attend either site visits or meetings with consultants and other parties involved to discuss the determination of planning applications. Currently I am working with colleagues, consultants and members of the council to devise an illustrative masterplan for a contracted site comprising approximately 1,500 homes. This project has involved extensive technical work.
From the day I first joined Berkeley, the staff have been extremely welcoming, and making sure I am being invited to relevant events and getting involved in lots of interesting projects. I have valued the time invested in me by colleagues, making sure I get the full potential out of my year in industry.
A sandwich placement year is a fantastic opportunity to build on and develop skills acquired through University and apply these into a real life setting. The year will encourage you to put your knowledge into practice, which is an extremely valuable skill in planning in particular, something that cannot be learnt at University.