Serena Wong

The best thing about my job is working in a fast paced environment which provides everyday challenges. Through this I have learnt how to problem solve and built my knowledge in the field.

Job Title: Graduate Planner and Land Assistant

Studied: Masters Degree in Urban Studies and Planning

Employer: Persimmon Plc

Job: Land Buyer

About my job

What does your department do?

The Land and Planning department has two key functions:

  • identifies suitable immediate and strategic land and secures it for development 
  • obtains planning permission for development

What might a typical day involve?

  • Site appraisals to establish land value
  • Co-ordinating with different departments on various site matters
  • Liaising with the legal department for various land related contractual documents e.g. affordable contracts, license agreement, option agreement
  • Site searching, information gathering and carrying out thorough site assessments
  • Reviewing local plans and policies
  • Site promotion
  • Maintaining regular communication with landowners and vendors, providing updates when necessary
  • Negotiating deals with landowners and agents

What is the best part of your job?

Working in a fast paced environment which provides everyday challenges, through this I have learnt how to problem solve and built my knowledge in the field. As each of the sites are at different development stages in terms of land position, the matters which evolve are diverse from site to site, this allows me to gain experiences from a range of different perspectives.

Why did you choose this career?

It is fascinating to understand the planning system for housing development and the process from land acquisition to housing delivery. The skills you are able to develop in this role are unrestricted and are crucial to many arears of life e.g. communication, negotiating, analytical thinking, management, creativity, adaptability and flexibility.

What was your route into the industry, what qualifications did you take?

After moving to the UK with my family at the age of 13, I started high school and completed 10 GSCE’s and 4 A-levels.

With the support of my teachers I then started a mixed degree and masters (MPlan) in Urban Studies and Planning. After university I started working as a Project co-ordinator for a local developer whose target was student accommodation & mixed-use schemes. From this experience I developed an interest in Land and planning so decided to look for a role  specific to this area.

In 2018 I saw an advertisement for a Graduate Planner and Land Assistant on the Persimmon website and decided to apply. I have now been working here for over 10 months and with the support of my colleagues have continued to grow my knowledge, skill set and experience.

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

  • Gain some experience in the different areas of construction both Private and Public
  • Explore the different options available to you
  • Have a passion for planning and land acquisition.
  • Have an optimistic mind-set
  • Enjoy communicating and negotiating with various stakeholders
  • Enjoy multitasking

Questions & Answers

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy baking and hiking