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Job Photographs

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Computer aided design (CAD) systems are used in town planning offices.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at a small map.

    An eye for detail is important.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at various paper documents.

    As well as doing technical design work, the support staff have to deal with correspondence relating to planning issues.

  • Two men are standing in a street, talking.  One of the men is writing on a clipboard.

    Support staff may have to carry out research by talking to members of the public.

  • A man is standing on a large building site.  He is making notes on a notepad.

    Conducting site surveys of new and proposed developments is necessary.

  • Town Planning Support Staff

Town Planning Support Staff

Introduction

Town planning support staff provide technical and practical support to town planners. Their work includes helping to collect planning information, keeping records of planning applications, and preparing reports, plans and drawings.

Also known as

  • Planning Technician, Town

Work Activities

Town planning support staff provide technical and practical support to town planners. They help to collect and analyse planning information. This can involve carrying out site inspections and interviewing members of the public to help find out local issues.

Support staff prepare reports about new projects. They may organise public exhibitions for consultation with local residents and make presentation drawings for this purpose.

They also deal with correspondence and keep records and drawings relating to applications for planning permission. Another task is to handle initial enquiries from the public and from members of planning committees.

More experienced planning support staff may be able to process simple planning applications and advise on whether planning permission is required, with the support of a qualified planning professional.

This job is mainly office-based. However, you might have to go on site visits and attend public meetings.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Town planning support staff need:

  • Good number skills.
  • To be able to express themselves clearly and accurately, both verbally and in writing.
  • Good teamworking skills as much of what you'll be doing involves helping town planners with their work.
  • An interest in the built and natural environment.
  • IT skills.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

Town planning support staff earn in the range of £18,500 - £22,000, rising to £26,500 - £31,000 with experience.

Hours of work

Most work around 35-40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, you may have early starts and late finishes, and you may need to work some weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers include central and local government departments, private planning consultancies, construction companies and environmental organisations.

Opportunities for town planning support staff occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, at Jobcentre Plus and on the LG jobs website.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/town-planning/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You usually enter this job by applying directly for positions within local authorities or in private companies. You'll need some GCSEs or A levels (or equivalent) to get into this career.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

It may be possible to enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Training

Training is usually on-the-job.

You can progress to more senior positions by taking a relevant HND or HNC.

Town planning support staff with Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) approved qualifications and experience can become Technical Members of the RTPI. People interested in taking their careers in planning further can also consider undertaking a degree and working towards becoming a Chartered Town Planner.

Work Experience

Previous experience gained in statistical or survey work would be really useful for this career.

Progression

Some support staff continue training and become fully qualified town planners.

Local authorities have a structured set of promotion routes.

Qualifications

To get this job, you will usually need at least:

  • 4 GCSEs at grade C or above; subjects to include Maths and English.

A BTEC Level 3 qualification in Town Planning Technical Support, will help you to stand out from the crowd.

Some people going into this career have A levels or equivalent qualifications.

For Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, you may have to sit an aptitude test involving maths, and problem solving. You might also have to sit a literacy test.

To start an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Skills gained in statistical or survey work are an advantage. The ability to use software such as desktop publishing (DTP) packages and computer-aided design (CAD) is also useful.

Experienced entrants who lack formal academic qualifications can apply to become Technical Members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). See the RTPI website for guidance on entry requirements.

Courses

Colleges will usually consider applications from candidates who do not meet their usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

It may be possible to enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship. Subjects like Business and Administration would be most useful.

Further Information

LGjobs

Local government vacancies

Website: www.lgjobs.com

myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries

Email: myjobscotland@cosla.gov.uk

Website: www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

GreenJobs

Email: info@greenjobs.co.uk

Website: www.greenjobs.co.uk

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171

Email: rayrobertson@nhtgskills.org

Website: www.nhtg.org.uk

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Queen's University Belfast

Irish enquiries

Website: www.qub.ac.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Asset Skills

Facilities management, housing, property, planning, cleaning and parking

Address: 2 The Courtyard, 48 New North Road, Exeter EX4 4EP

Tel: 0800 0567160

Email: info@assetskills.org

Website: www.assetskills.org

Find Your Way

Publisher: Asset Skills

Tel: 0845 6782888

Email: findyourway@assetskills.org

Website: www.findyourway.co.uk

Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)

Address: 15 John Street, London WC1N 2EB

Tel: 020 7831 3110

Email: frontofhouse@ciwem.org

Website: www.ciwem.org

Local Government Chronicle (LGC)

Publisher: EMAP

Website: www.lgcplus.com

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

Address: 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL

Tel: 020 7929 9494

Email: contact@rtpi.org.uk

Website: www.rtpi.org.uk

Northern Ireland Planning Service

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Website: www.planningni.gov.uk

Transport Planning Society (TPS)

Address: One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA

Tel: 020 7665 2238

Email: tps@ice.org.uk

Website: www.tps.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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