Laura Shorney

MSc Environment and Spatial Planning

Laura needed to achieve RTPI accreditation to progress in her career. Since becoming accredited she’s secured a role with Birmingham City Council, where she gets to use her knowledge to transform Birmingham’s public spaces.

“I studied my undergraduate in planning in Germany but came to BCU to do a placement year. The teaching and support at the university were incredible, so when I decided I wanted to do a Master’s, BCU was an obvious choice.

Plus, BCU’s master’s course was RTPI accredited, which you need to be able to work as a fully qualified town planner. The accreditation was something I always wanted to achieve, and I was excited to return to BCU to do it. I’d made great friends and connections here.

I studied for my Master’s part-time so I could continue working. I worked four days a week and did one day at university, so I had to study at the weekends. It was tough but I learnt a lot about multitasking and handling my workload, and it was all worth it because I’m now a town planner.

After graduation, I started working as a Senior Planner at Birmingham City Council but within a year I was promoted to Principal Planning Officer. I’m now dealing with some of the biggest planning projects in Birmingham.

I’m passionate about creating quality spaces for the public. I approve town plans that I feel will make a real difference in the community. I drive around Birmingham and feel proud to see the spaces that I’ve transformed to make them more sustainable and user-friendly.

My master’s didn’t only give me the accreditation needed to get the role, but also the knowledge I need to do my job well. We learned a lot about the regulations and legislation involved in planning. Our exams were based on real local plans and the documents are real documents that planners use. The documentation and legislation that we practised on the course are the same as the ones I use every day in my job.

All the modules involved practical experience and I learned so much about the planning industry. Most of my tutors had worked in planning and had a lot of insight to share. The staff at BCU are so supportive and informed on what’s happening in the industry. I still keep in touch with some of them, because they’re genuinely invested in the success of the students on the course.

We also had a lot of contact with planners currently working in the industry. Planners are required in many different sectors and it was really interesting and aspirational to see the different roles available to me as an accredited town planner.

To me, ‘I am BCU’ means moving forward. BCU has given me the chance to progress in my career and become the planner I am today.”