Where is all the Work!

Where is all the Work!

Postby niallig » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:17 pm

I'm a graduate of DIT Planning School and i'm finding the task of finding a job in town planning a nightmare. Everyone is looking for minimum of two years experience:mad: which is difficult when no one seems to want to give u work in the first place. I knew it was never going to be easy with planning but so far my only option seems to be a graduate position in Local Authorities whenever they appear.

Maybe someone with a similar experience can offer advice. All your comments are welcome!
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby tommyt » Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:04 pm

That's bad news. Will be entering the workforce myself shortly. Would appreciate any anecdotal opinions on the current jobscene immensly....
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby niallig » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:49 pm

Tommyt what course have u been studying
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby StephenC » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:32 pm

Niall why dont you try and branch into something else connected to planning as a means of gaining experience. Use all that wonderful environmental management knwoldge passed down to you. :-)
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby tommyt » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:41 pm

niallig wrote:Tommyt what course have u been studying

sent you a PM niallig
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby niallig » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:10 pm

StephenC, what environmental management! Have my doubts about this wonderful course provided by DIT. :) Its been interesting learning about all the various aspects but how much does it prepare us for real planning!
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ryans » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:28 pm

Hi folks, as a masters in planning student would be intersted to hear how you faired on the jobs front. Stating to look for work experience over the summer and would like to know if you have any opinions on where to apply to?
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ctesiphon » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:25 am

I was fortunate to get a summer job with one of the biggest planning consultancies in Dublin for my summer between first and second year, based possibly on the fact that I was a mature student with previous built environment experience.
Then I was fortunate to get a job with (can't insert name here for reasons of conflict of interest and anonymity:) ) after second year, based partly on my first year summer work, partly on my areas of interest and partly being in the right place at the right time, though I did have to wait a bit before it came along. I still call it home.

My previous experience did play a part for the summer job, but equally all of my classmates - most of whom were recent bachelor graduates - got summer work too, eventually, and those that wanted to stay in planning afterwards managed to. I think timing is crucial- too early and your cv might get buried, too late and you'll have missed the boat. So I'd advise blanket bombing the consultancies in the next couple of months and then following up with calls to see what the state of play is. Nothing says keenness like a few pestering phonecalls. And from what I remember, the LAs usually take on a student or two and sometimes notify colleges when this is happening as it's a slightly more formal procedure than the private sector. But for LA work, be prepared to work outside Dublin (if that's where you're studying).

Have a look at the IPI website for company names, but maybe steer clear of the one man band type offices as they often can't help for lack of resources.

Best of luck.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby alonso » Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:02 pm

I had the same story. It's impossible to get into the LA's as graduate opportunities are rare. I was very lucky to get a job in planning, it was just through a friends' leave of absence. (Taking 2 years off after graduating to p1ss about in a band didn't help either!!!). Anyway the consultancies are easier to get into so yeh blanket bomb and obviously check the jobs on the IPI website...

But it's a classic irish situation. The system is overstretched and under funded. There's no planners in the Local Authorities and dozens of unemployed graduates?? genius. I'm sure you're sick of people telling you how everyone's looking for planners. I know I was...
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ryans » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:30 pm

Cheers guys, never thought about getting applications in too early but it makes sense now that you said it! Is there any benefit in getting experience in the public over the private sector. Just thinking that the work load would be more varied in the private sector and this might look better on applications after graduation?
Its a shame there isn't something like planning aid in the UK that would allow students build up some of the necessary two years experience. I'd happily volunteer a few hours of my time each week if it ment that it would make getting a job easier in the long run.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:32 am

There's good and bad public, good and bad private. Hard to say if one side of the fence is better than the other.

I took the first summer job I found, and was lucky in getting good experience while there. But I was fairly sure that my heart lay in the public sphere beforehand, so I could justify it to myself as getting to know the enemy.:)

I think that last point is something that many graduates don't think about, and the system doesn't really allow the choice- it's generally a case of taking the first job that comes along. But some public planners would be better in the private world and vice versa.

For me, being a private planner involved / would involve too many moral compromises; too much blinkered thinking. Advocating a scheme that felt wrong, but for which I was being paid by a developer, stuck in my craw. But then again, seeing the world through someone else's eyes is how we get to know it better. As John McGahern said, 'I think of a lack of manners as a failure of the imagination, because it shows an inability to put yourself in someone else's shoes.'

Re planning aid- I've thought in the past that many professions could benefit from such a scheme, like a cross between national service and free legal aid. All graduates, on qualification, would join a pool have to work for two years on a random variety of cases, thereby gaining valuable experience while removing any potential bias in the system.

Leave it with me for now.:)
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby alonso » Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:31 am

I went to a meeting in Bolton St in 2001 all about bringing Planning Aid to Ireland. Nothing seems to have come of it though. I don't think there's the time or will to do such a thing here. But if graduates could do it, I guess it would make sense. But it would give lie to the "conspiracy against the laity" aspect of the planning system, and we can't have that now can we...

The larger private sector companies are more varied, especially at the lower levels. It's the difference between writing EIS's or an appeal for a major retail/residential scheme or driving around checking site notices and assessing extensions... There is a moral dimension to it too. All that matters is the client. However, I'm not 100% concerned about that. At the end of the day, the Authorities make development plans and are the guardians of the built environment. Planners merely give effect to those plans. What needs to happen in my opinion is the major planning consultants who represent the largest developers, need to show leadership to their clients and show them that doing the right thing is better in the long term for the development industry, their clients ie homeowners, and the environment in general.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:34 pm

ctesiphon wrote:Re planning aid- I've thought in the past that many professions could benefit from such a scheme, like a cross between national service and free legal aid. All graduates, on qualification, would join a pool have to work for two years on a random variety of cases, thereby gaining valuable experience while removing any potential bias in the system.


They have a system like this in France for all graduates. When military service was compulsory, all males had to either do one year square bashing or had an option of working 18 mths for the govt. or a company as an intern -usually to carry out a specific project in their area of training. Called VSNs (Volontaire Service Nationale) or VSNE (enterprise) since the military service was disbanded. They got paid the SMIC(minimum wage) by the State but in the private sector that usually was supplemented by a bonus from the employer. The best of them got jobs overseas, e.g. researching a market for a product launch, or on a trade promotion. The great thing was that they then returned home with some great business and cultural experience. However, it did not do anything to level the playing field, as the sons/daughters of the "connected" always got the best jobs in London or NYC, les enfants gates de NAP!

When Mammy O'Rourke was Min. of Education and expanded the use of Transition Year c 1990 to reduce the ranks of the unemployed school leavers it killed off any hope of the above which was being proposed by some, myself included. But what could one expect from a politician who, as Transport Minister, could not drive, walked to work from her city-centre flat and said "what traffic problem?)
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:02 pm

That's interesting, KB2. Thanks.

Surely there'd be a way to get rid of the bias- names out of a hat, hierarchy based on final exam results, etc. Anyway, we're getting off topic, I fear.

FWIW, I was in one ofthe first years to go through Transition Year in a pilot programme (even got into the Sunday Tribune aged 16 as part of a class photo, such was the novelty!), and, while it had some good points, on balance I think it was largely a waste of time, and in some respects did more harm than good.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby blaise » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:58 am

Ive been working in London as a Conservation Officer and id highly recommend that anyone looking for planning work considers coming over here. The Government in the UK have placed a lot of emphasis on Heritage and Design and I find working here so much more rewarding than in Dublin both in terms of the work and salary I find that in Ireland concepts of planning , conservation and design are almost resented and anyone promoting these ideas can find it soul destroying. One of housing of no design quality, unserviced seventies estates still being built and gombeen men demolishing historic buildings , unfortunately thats the state of play in Ireland if you ask me.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby PSPLANNER » Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:24 pm

alonso wrote:
The larger private sector companies are more varied, especially at the lower levels. It's the difference between writing EIS's or an appeal for a major retail/residential scheme or driving around checking site notices and assessing extensions... There is a moral dimension to it too. All that matters is the client. However, I'm not 100% concerned about that. At the end of the day, the Authorities make development plans and are the guardians of the built environment. Planners merely give effect to those plans. What needs to happen in my opinion is the RPS' and TPA's of this world need to show leadership to their clients and show them that doing the right thing is better in the long term for the development industry, their clients ie homeowners, and the environment in general.


Regarding your comments re private practices and particularly big ones – your comment shows a clear lack of experience and a common misinterpretation of private sector planning complies and what it is like to work for them.

As a planner who has worked in both domains I can assure you that what you suggest for TPA and RPS already happens with most if not all planning consultants. The aim of Private sector planner is to obtain planning permission for their client for a planned scheme. In this regard, the private sector planner is also governed by the Development Plan and must advise the client accordingly. Yes there are Clients who act against advice and lodge silly applications but this is the reason why private sector planning consultants are generally not always successful. Also who do you think proposes and strongly encourages the client to give planning gain?

Re the moral dimension – All I can say is that the best place to learn for me was in the private sector. By necessity you need to be more inventive in your thought process. Your writing skills are tested more rigorously and you generally have to have a wider experience to advance. Basically you learn quicker, are exposed to a much wider variety of planning work and thus advance quicker as a planner. It is very interesting to note that the number of Senior Planners who leave public office and venture out on their own!
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:14 pm

PSPLANNER wrote:As a planner who has worked in both domains I can assure you that what you suggest for TPA and RPS already happens with most if not all planning consultants. The aim of Private sector planner is to obtain planning permission for their client for a planned scheme. In this regard, the private sector planner is also governed by the Development Plan and must advise the client accordingly. Yes there are Clients who act against advice and lodge silly applications but this is the reason why private sector planning consultants are generally not always successful. Also who do you think proposes and strongly encourages the client to give planning gain?

I shouldn't presume to speak for alonso, but my understanding of his (?) post was that it said much the same as yours.

Viz.:
alonso wrote:At the end of the day, the Authorities make development plans and are the guardians of the built environment. Planners merely give effect to those plans.

PSPLANNER wrote:In this regard, the private sector planner is also governed by the Development Plan and must advise the client accordingly.

And:
alonso wrote:What needs to happen in my opinion is the RPS' and TPA's of this world need to show leadership to their clients and show them that doing the right thing is better in the long term

PSPLANNER wrote:Also who do you think proposes and strongly encourages the client to give planning gain?


Re your other points:

I think there is a variety of reasons why senior public planners leave office and set up privately- access to privileged information and a rolodex full of developers' names didn't seem to feature on your list. Wait and see how many leave when the bubble bursts. Indeed, wait and see how many consultants survive at their current staff levels...

Perhaps I'm the exception, but I've dealt with a wider range of work than many of my peers who went private. And my job positively encourages the taking of the high moral ground.]Your writing skills are tested more rigorously...[/QUOTE]
But maybe not your comprehension skills...?
And FWIW, some of the material I've seen written or compiled by private consultants would make their parents blush. Internal contradictions, misunderstandings of policy documents, examples from planning systems elsewhere that aren't applicable to the Irish context, etc. etc.

Anyway, if you'll excuse me I have a fire to fight.
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Re: Where is all the Work!

Postby alonso » Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:39 pm

My apparent lack of experience and misinterpretation seems to lead me to the same conclusion as yourself so welcome to the club. I'm fully aware that guidance and leadership is given to developers. Perhaps I should have said "more leadership" to the point where they simply throw out their developments, no matter how large. Does that happen? I know of one recent major development that the consultant advised against in no uncertain terms, but under direction, lodged it. It was refused for one simple blindingly obvious reason that any taxi driver could have told you. In other words it was a waste of time, money and resources. That's just plain wrong and belittles our profession in the eyes of the public.

I'm also fully aware that a large percentage of applications that go in from respected consultants are bloody awful and should not be granted. This is not just from a development plan macro point of view ie zoning, but from design, layout, parking, assessment points of view. However they are granted, which highlights that bad planning happens in both sectors and neither can claim to be "better" than the other.

I may have been unfair naming those 2 companies, but I did so as they are among the best,largest, most respected consultancies and ones that people interested in planning would know well. I'll edit my post to remove them and I'd request you do likewise in your post. It wasn't my intention to highlight them or in any way question their competence. I'm familiar enough with their work never to do so.

I would be extremely disappointed if planners did not push developers to do the right thing re planning gain. However my point is, as you said, that the overriding "aim of Private sector planner is to obtain planning permission for their client for a planned scheme". That's all I was saying., That aim sometimes has the effect of compromising rather than maximising the common good.

Some may not be comfortable with that. I agree with your final paragraph and had already said as much. I have worked in both sectors also and found the private sector more rewarding in terms of variety and influence. However some of my experience in the public sector has also highlighted that the development industry sometimes seeks to exploit failings in the planning system to their own benefit.

"It is very interesting to note that the number of Senior Planners who leave public office and venture out on their own!"

Yes especially having written and promoted a development plan which rezones their prospective clients' lands. This has happened spectaularly in one County to the extent that it featured a number of times in the national press. Where's the common good in that? And I presume, as a planner, you know who and where I'm talking about.
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