Sarah Sutcliffe

I am constantly learning and evolving, and with Thakeham and my teams support, I am actively pursuing my career goals.

Job Title: Graduate Planner

Employer: Thakeham

Job: Planner

About my job

What does your department do?

The Planning Department works closely with the Land Department by assisting in the procurement of potential development land through to obtaining the relevant planning permission to support a site through to delivery.

As such, my department also works alongside the other departments at Thakeham, ensuring that sites are promoted through the LDF, planning permissions are sought, amendments applications are facilitated as required and conditions are discharged to allow construction to commence and units to be occupied.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My day-to-day role is varied; from identifying and appraising new strategic sites, preparing planning appraisals, undertaking background policy research, leading the discharge of planning conditions, progressing Reserved Matters and Full Planning Applications through to assisting team members with the progression of strategic portfolio sites.

What do you like about what you do?

Thakeham is a company with drive and ambition. The development sites and associated work are varied which allows me a broad insight into development and housebuilding. I am encouraged to further my knowledge and understanding of the industry and have been supported extensively in progressing my path to becoming a chartered Town Planner. Within the two and a half years I have been at Thakeham, the planning team has grown and will continue to do so as the company realises its ambitions for future success. I am constantly learning and evolving, and with Thakeham and my teams support, I am actively pursuing my career goals.

Working for a housebuilder provides insight into all stages of housebuilding from the procurement of land through to the conveyancing process. This makes the role varied and I really enjoy seeing these schemes progress from start to finish – we sit near the sales and marketing team so we even witness the sales of the new homes to the homeowners.

Why did you choose this career?

After obtaining an undergraduate BA (Hons) Degree in Interior Architecture I began exploring opportunities to progress my career within the property and construction sector, but with a less specialised design focus. After researching various paths and opportunities I decided to pursue an MSc in Spatial Planning so I could progress a career in Town Planning. Planning would enable me the extended insight into many aspects of property and construction, allowing a wider understanding of the industry and more variety in day-to-day work.

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

A Master’s Degree accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

Do your research on the various career paths you could progress in Town Planning and tailor your CV and covering letter to suit the role. Remember you are a Graduate, you are not expected to have extensive practical knowledge of the industry however you need to demonstrate what you do know and be enthusiastic about learning new things and progressing your career.

The recruitment process for my role involved the completion of a set task to demonstrate competence rather than be solely assessed on previous experience. This provided an extremely valuable opportunity for someone like me, with minimal experience, to demonstrate my understanding of the sector. Be passionate and seize any opportunities to demonstrate why you have chosen this career over others.

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I like to maintain an active lifestyle and travel when possible.

What’s your favourite film / film genre?

Can’t go wrong with a Comedy, Bridesmaids is a particular favourite.

Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

I have visited Nice, France on several occasions recently - it’s easy to get to and the town has the added benefit of a beach. Perfect for a long weekend!