On Wednesday 13 February, Stephen Wilkinson of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority travelled to Winchmore Secondary School, Enfield, to shed the light on the (frequently little-understood) profession that is town planning.
Stephen’s audience was composed of Y11 – Y13 students (and their teachers). His visit to the school was part of the RTPI’s emerging ‘Planning for the Future’ campaign which aims to promote planning as a profession to young people in the run up to the RTPI’s centenary in 2014.
On 13th February I presented to members of the senior school of Winchmore Secondary School, Enfield. An animated bunch, they asked questions focussed on starting salaries, entry levels and employment prospects (in that order).
What surprised me was the lack of understanding of what is ‘Planning’ and clearly there is a massive agenda for us to get our message over as we run up to the Centenary Year. One student even asked what qualifications you need for Architecture – she was asked to leave the room!
Looking to the future, this experience suggests that we should consider refining our web content. ‘Careers in Planning’ is probably the main forum by which students will access information to inform their choices for careers.
Thinking back to the girl who enquired (to a planner) as to the qualifications required for architecture, there might also be room for Careers in Planning to set out where planning sits in relation to the numerous separate-but-closely-related built environment professions. This could help provide greater context and also demonstrate the extent to which planning is inherently interdisciplinary.