Job description: Graduate town planner

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 27 Mar 2019

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What is involved in the role of a graduate town planner? Find out about the key responsibilities, skills required and career opportunities it could lead to.

Graduate Town Planner

As a graduate town planner, you will be exposed to a variety of projects which may include residential developments, town centre regeneration, retail, commercial and industrial work. You will report to hierarchy and be given continuous professional development through your APC and assistance working towards achieving MRTPI. Your planning knowledge and understanding will develop daily and your competency levels will increase along with your responsibility.

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The day-to-day 

The day-to-day responsibilities of a graduate planner will vary by organisation and sector but typically include:

  • Drafting planning applications and appeals.
  • Assisting clients throughout the planning process.
  • Undertaking regular community engagement, committee meetings and public examinations.
  • Communicating with all stakeholders involved in the planning process.
  • Site visits and client meetings (although the work is largely office based).
  • Travelling within the working day may be required occasionally.
  • Overseas work may be required with some planning practices.

Key responsibilities

As a graduate planner you are likely to have a combination of the following responsibilities, which will vary by organisation:

  • Managing a range of planning applications, appeals and pre-application enquiries.
  • Assessing planning applications and monitoring outcomes.
  • Researching and designing planning policies to guide development.
  • Developing parks in a sustainable way.
  • Redesigning street layouts.
  • Creating energy efficient and affordable homes.
  • Enforcing planning controls.
  • Hearing concerns about planning proposals.
  • Writing reports with recommendations

Key skills

The core skills you’ll typically need as a graduate planner include:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong client liaison skills
  • Expert negotiation skills
  • Project management skills
  • Solid report writing skills
  • GIS systems and CAD software skills
  • Ability to analyse complex data
  • Understanding of the UK planning process


 An RTPI-accredited degree is usually required, and some organisations may require a master’s degree in urban planning or a related field. You will also need a full and clean driving licence.


Standard working hours are Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. You may need to work additional hours to meet particular project deadlines or to respond to urgent planning requests.


A typical salary range for a graduate planner is £18,000 - £25,000 per annum plus benefits, although this does vary by organisation.

A recruitment expert’s perspective:

"A graduate town planner’s role within any planning practice, strategic developer or housebuilder will be integral. You will be expected to show your enthusiasm for developing your planning knowledge and show an eagerness and willingness to assist on all planning matters for a range of projects. 


"The planning market is extremely busy with a range of consultancies and clientside practices looking to strengthen their teams nationally. It is an exciting time for enthusiastic, bright and articulate graduates to begin their planning career."

- Lee Rimell, lead recruiter, Penguin Recruitment.

Career opportunities

Career progression opportunities are available for ambitious graduate planners. Next steps may include:

  • Assistant Town Planner
  • Town Planner

Penguin Recruitment is currently recruiting for a range of roles including:

To discuss a number of exciting planning opportunities across the UK get in touch with Lee Rimell at Penguin Recruitment on 01792 365 106.

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