Ben Shaw

Senior Planning Consultant

After undertaking a Masters in Urban Design and Spatial Planning, following on from a BA (Hons) in Town and Country Planning at the University of the West of England, Bristol, I joined John Rowan and Partners in September 2012 for initially 2 weeks work experience. This was then extended to a 3 month internship as a member of the Planning team.

Within my 3 months internship I worked on a number of projects within different sectors. The team was small allowing me to develop and to transfer the skills learnt at university into a practical day to day environment. After my internship I was given the opportunity to become a permanent graduate planner, which I happily accepted.

With my new role as Graduate Planner I found that my responsibilities and job roles increased. This allowed me to build client relationships, improve my negotiation skills with Council planning officers and generally improve my knowledge within the planning system. My responsibilities also increased in terms of attending internal meetings and giving internal planning advice to different teams within the business. The scope of work is terms of size and type of project is diverse. For example, I have worked on changes of use from commercial to a residential development of 150 units; to working on an intrinsic conversion of a grade II listed building in Westminster; and to giving strategic planning advice on a conversion of redundant school buildings to residential use. This diverse range of projects has allowed me to give a variety of planning consultancy advice to existing and new clients across all property sectors and to landowners, investors, occupiers and developers. I have regular contact with Partners and Members of the business, which I believe has encouraged me to learn and helped me to develop my knowledge and skills to a high standard.

I have found that the opportunities are endless within the company and that if you display the enthusiasm and passion to learn and develop your career, you are given the opportunities to do so. A display of enthusiasm to develop also does not go unnoticed or unrewarded, if you show that you are working to a high standard promotions are achievable. Although I am still 6 months away from taking my APC, I have recently been promoted to a Qualified Planner. This promotion reinforces the desire to keep improving as I know further opportunities will be available for me to develop my career within the company.

John Rowan and Partners is an excellent atmosphere to work in with a family feel throughout. The business is run through a set of values that are actively emphasised and worked towards by everyone within the company, this contributes to an excellent and fun working environment. The hierarchical feel with most commercially minded companies is non-existent here, whether an Intern, Graduate, Partner or Member everyone is actively encouraged to attend events and conferences, have their say in meetings or voice innovation.

One of the most important values I have come learn at my time here is “Working hard at having fun”. Throughout the year there are a lot of internal events, which gives you the opportunity to interact with people within the business you may not work with day to day. We have a Treasure Hunt and Quiz night, a Sports Day within the summer which ends with everyone drenched and refreshed (not just down to the English weather), a bowling night and the end of year Christmas Party. The week to week social environment is also great with many colleagues congregating at the local pub for drinks every Friday; it really is a fun place to work.

Being sports mad, I found very quickly that most of the company is and this is an encouraged part of the social environment. Being both within the football team and cricket team I found myself playing sport regularly either in the Property Football Cup, finals played at The New Den, or at Ealing Cricket Ground on a hot summers day, with drinks and a great BBQ afterwards. Colleagues often come to cheer or jeer you on (depending on what clients are in the opposition) and it increases the great camaraderie within the company.

John Rowan and Partners was voted Building’s no.1 Best Employers in 2013 and having just finished my first year of employment with the company, been given endless opportunities to develop my career as well as having fun socially through sports and events, i couldn’t argue with that.