Meet a Planner

Planning is a brilliant career and if you have got any interest at all in kind of steering the direction of how our world works I’d encourage people to go into planning. It increasingly needs people with a variety of skills so if you’re interested in science or geography, ecology, biodiversity, water, transport, urban design, architecture, engineering, there’s a place for you in planning. There’s a huge broad breadth of job opportunities out there across a wide range of areas... Olwyn James, Project Planning Manager, Irish Water

Michael

Job Title: Graduate Planner
Place of Work: Wicklow County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: Early and Modern Irish Studies (BA) TCD Postgraduate: Regional and Urban Planning (Masters) UCD

I grew up during the Celtic Tiger witnessing significant changes in the built environment in my home town. This made me curious to understand the planning process. I studied Early and Modern Irish in Trinity College before deciding to pursue a career in planning, later enrolling in the two-year Masters of Regional and Urban Planning in University College Dublin. I began my career in the private sector working in planning consultancy. I am currently working as a Graduate Planner in Wicklow County Council. My top tip for future planners would be to follow planning activity in your local area alongside your studies, or beforehand. By looking at planning application documentation and following the process of making a development plan, you will get a feel for what the job entails.

Lauren Butler Ryan

Lauren

Job Title: Assistant Planner
Place of Work: Tipperary County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: Economics and Geography (BA) UCC, Postgraduate: Planning and Sustainable Development (Masters) UCC

My interest in planning developed during my time in secondary school. I had a really engaging geography teacher and I became more interested in the built environment and place-making. I always knew I did not want the standard office type job with limited personal interaction because having a role working with different groups of people was very important to me which is a major part of being a planner. My third level education was in University College Cork where I completed a BA in Economics and Geography and then a Masters in Planning and Sustainable Development. When I graduated I worked initially as a Student Planner and then Graduate Planner with Carlow County Council before taking up the position of Assistant Planner with Tipperary County Council. My top tip for planners is to be brave and seize every opportunity. Planning, like any career does not come without its challenges, however, it is exciting and fulfilling.

Dara Keane

Dara

Job Title: Graduate Planner
Place of Work: Wicklow County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: BSc (Hons) in Planning and Environmental Management TU Dublin

I always had a general interest in planning and the built environment, however, it was a chat with a family friend, who is a professional planner that raised my awareness of planning as a potential career path. The potential to have an impact on real world problems is one of the main reasons why I opted to study planning. I completed my undergraduate in Spatial Planning at TU Dublin in 2022. During the course of my studies I was able to get a grasp of spatial planning both theoretically and practically. I am currently working as a Graduate Planner with Wicklow County Council. My top tip for future planners would be to network, travel and be open to further education and learning throughout your career.

Fiona Redmond

Fiona

Job Title: Assistant Planner
Place of Work: South Dublin County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: City Planning and Environmental Policy (BSc) UCD Postgraduate: Regional and Urban Planning (Masters) UCD

I have always been interested in planning, and the connection between human geography and urban development. This inspired me to pursue a career in planning. I commenced my planning studies with a Bachelor’s degree in Planning at University College Dublin, followed by a Master’s degree in Regional and Urban Planning at the same university. I began my career in the private sector, working as a Graduate Planner, and after gaining valuable experience, I progressed to my current role as an Assistant Planner with South Dublin County Council. My top tip for future planners would be to embrace collaboration and cross-departmental communication, to foster strong relationships with your colleagues and to value the perspectives of various disciplines and expertise to ensure well-rounded, effective decision-making.

Rachel O'Callaghan

Rachel

Job Title: Graduate Planner
Place of Work: Cork County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: Geography and Economics (BA) UCC Postgraduate: Planning and Sustainable Development (MPlan) UCC

I have a keen interest in how spaces are transformed into places. The creation of places and the impact that the public realm has on the overall character and vitality of these settings has always astonished me. After I completed my BA in Geography and Economics in UCC, I went straight into the Masters in Planning and Sustainable Development. While I was studying in UCC I had an opportunity to work in the Heritage Unit of Cork County Council, over the course of four summers, and I worked alongside many planners. This gave me invaluable experience and helped to me recognise the importance of teamwork and how interconnected varying disciplines are, particularly in the planning world. I currently work as a Graduate Planner with Cork County Council. My top tip for future planners would be to explore different parts of the world to gain an understanding of planning practices across the globe.

Shoaib Khan

Shoaib

Job Title: Assistant Planner
Place of Work: Meath County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: BSc (Hons) in Planning and Environmental Management TU Dublin

I had an interest in studying spatial planning for a while before fully committing to it. I did some research and that helped me to understand how planners contribute significantly towards how an area is developed over time through their input in policy and decision-making. I studied planning and environmental management at TU Dublin, the course is an undergraduate degree completed over four years with a level 8 Bachelor of Science award. When I graduated I worked as a graduate environmental planner with a highly reputable international firm. Although there was a large group in my class, most of the students were offered positions immediately after graduating. I currently work as an Assistant Planner with Meath County Council. My career in planning so far has exceeded my expectations in terms of progress, growth, and satisfaction. My top tip for future planners would be to be optimistic, creative, and flexible.
Andrew Corcoran

Andrew

Job Title: Graduate Planner
Place of Work: Fingal County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: Fine Art NCAD, Postgraduate: Regional and Urban Planning (Masters) UCD

I was always interested in space and buildings, but I discovered, through my local council, that there’s a lot more to planning and that it plays a major role in shaping our communities. I researched planning as a career, and I realised the wide range of opportunities that exist for planning graduates. I studied fine art in the NCAD as my undergraduate degree, and I then did the two-year MRUP course at UCD. After graduating I worked in private practice, before taking up my current role in the public sector. I currently work as a Graduate Planner with Fingal County Council. My top tip for future planners is to keep an open mind about your career. It’s really good to experience planning from both sides (private and public sector). The experience you get from working is very different from college but in a good way!

Padraiag O'Donoghue

Padraig

Job Title: Assistant Planner
Place of Work: Kerry County Council
Education/Training: Undergraduate: Geography and English (BA) UCC, Postgraduate: Planning and Sustainable Development (Masters) UCC

I first became interested in planning as an undergraduate while studying geography in UCC. I was always interested in the environment and particularly how planning could improve the vibrancy of rural areas. I also had a keen interest in the housing crisis, and this was a major factor in choosing a career in planning. I completed a Joint Honours Bachelor of Arts in UCC, where I studied Geography and English. Following this, I completed the Masters in Planning and Sustainable Development in UCC. I worked in private practice initially but I am currently working as an Assistant Planner with Kerry County Council. My top tip for future planners would be to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. Planning has many specialties and is always moving forward so having an open mind is helpful.

Laura Hederman

Laura

Job Title: Graduate Planner Programme
Place of Work: Uisce Éireann
Education/Training: Undergraduate: BSc (Hons) in Planning and Environmental Management TU Dublin

My interest in planning stemmed from my love of geography in secondary school. I was passionate about the built and natural environment and I wanted to pursue a career that was aligned with my interests. I studied the BSc in Spatial Planning in Technological University Dublin. I completed my student placement with the Southern Regional Assembly and I am currently on Uisce Éireann‘s ‘Cross Industry Graduate Programme’. My top tip for future planners would be to work collaboratively with people across the sector and to network and build relations with your peers. Working in planning is exciting and there are endless opportunities available to work in diverse areas.