Careers Advice: Choosing the right training event for you

Written by: Emily Taylor
Published on: 1 Apr 2019


Working in planning, there are a whole host of different training opportunities that are available to you. Rather than providing you with an exhaustive commentary, I’ll focus on a couple of quick-fire tips for getting the most out of each type of training opportunity.

  1. Internal knowledge sharing sessions. The beauty of these sessions is that they are informal, can focus on any topic of interest and can be held by anyone at any level. As a young planner, take this opportunity to learn more about a topic and present on something current or a process of interest. A good way to hone your presentation skills and engage in discussion with your team – they do say teaching is the best way of learning!

  2. Formal presentations. Use these sessions to build your knowledge of the industry, for example attending those held by other disciplines as a window into an area you aren’t familiar with. Many consultancies will hold these in-house, so take a friend, or invite friends to something your company is holding, and assist in organising if you can.

  3. Paid training courses or conferences. These are good opportunities for you to immerse yourself in a full or half day of learning. Be sure to engage in discussion and get to know others in attendance, and arrange for a way to feed back what you learnt to your team when you get back to the office.

  4. Law briefings. To be expected given their profession, barristers are incredibly engaging presenters and case study-led learning is a brilliant way to get yourself familiar with the legal framework of planning, gaining understanding of when it is appropriate to seek legal advice. If acting as an expert witness is your speciality, then a mock inquiry offers the ideal environment to practice your arguments under cross-examination with the reassurance that it’s just role play!

  5. Client training. The trainee becomes the trainer! Consultancies can offer Continued Professional Development sessions to clients – this is not only a way of adding value to your client but also gives the company a chance to showcase their project work. Get involved as an opportunity to represent your company and develop strong relationships with clients.

  6. Networking events. Perhaps not your typical ‘training’, but these types of events are important in providing a platform for you to develop your soft skills, are a good way of keeping up your commercial awareness and, of course, allow you to get to know a wider network of professionals in the industry!  Go with a smile and conversation starter, and get stuck in.

It’s worth talking to your team or your company about what’s on offer and putting forward ideas of your own.  The more learning you can do in a supportive environment, the better you can apply it in your day-to-day role.

Emily Taylor is a planner at consultancy Indigo Planning