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Planning technician: job description

Planning technician: job description

Planning technicians support the work of town planners in the assessment of agricultural, commercial, public and private planning applications and the development of land allocation policies.
Planning technicians are employed in many UK government and local authority offices.

What does a planning technician do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Duties of the work are similar to those carried out by town planners, although planners generally have more responsibility for making recommendations about, devising and implementing local, regional or national planning policies.

Planning technicians undertake much of the related administration and many of the day-to-day practical duties, which include:

  • collecting, analysing and interpreting data
  • dealing with enquiries relating to development control
  • acting as the first point of contact for the team
  • visiting sites to make inspections
  • drawing up plans
  • writing reports and publications
  • attending meetings
  • storing and retrieving plans and records
  • organising surveys
  • preparing information for leaflets and displays

Career progression is normally possible through promotion into senior planning technician roles, although it is also possible to qualify as a town planner via appropriate professional courses.

Typical employers of planning technicians

The majority of opportunities for planning technicians arise within local government (county, district, borough and metropolitan councils).

Government planning policies influence employment opportunities in this area of work. Public sector vacancies are always advertised, so speculative applications are not essential. Advertisements appear in local and national newspapers, local authority jobs lists and relevant publications such as Building Services, Planning, Opportunities, Municipal Journal, Building and their respective websites.

Qualifications and training required

The minimum academic requirements for entry into the profession are four GCSEs including mathematics. A number of planning technicians have HND (or equivalent) level qualifications, although only a few enter the profession as graduates.

BTEC and higher certificates in land administration are normally obtained via day release once in a post. Relevant planning, local authority or administrative work experience can be helpful.

Key skills for planning technicians

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Ability to understand and produce technical drawings
  • Enthusiasm
  • A strong visual sense
  • Verbal and written communication skills
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