PLANNING EXPERT OFFERS ADVICE ON A CAREER IN REAL ESTATE, PLANNING OR LOGISTICS
For students who are interested in a career in town planning, alumna Caroline Musker offers practical information and advice on careers and getting into the industry. After graduating from Sheffield University with an upper second-class honours degree in Urban Studies and Planning, Caroline joined the UK’s largest independent planning consultancy – Lichfields as a Graduate in 2004 and was successively promoted to Senior Director in 2019. Caroline was advising Prologis as a planning consultant at Lichfields and then was appointed by them (the largest global industrial real estate investment trust) as their UK Head of Planning in March 2022.
Caroline gives some useful advice on considering a career in real estate and more specifically in town planning below.
I attended Richmond School & Sixth Form College from Year 7 to 13, studying A-levels in Geography, English Literature and Business Studies. I really enjoyed my time at Richmond School and have some life-long friends from my time there.
I was originally intending to study Marketing and Business Studies at Loughborough University but after a lot of consideration I ended up taking a year out. During my year out, I took an interest in some planning applications that were running in the village where I lived. I found the process of developing land really interesting. I organised a work experience placement at Richmondshire District Council in the development control section and shadowed a planning officer for two weeks. After a trip back to the school careers department and some help from the careers adviser, I decided to look at Universities that offered town planning courses that were accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
During my time at Lichfields, I was involved in delivering some really exciting schemes including multiple large-scale residential developments, new hotels, shopping centres, hospitals and logistics buildings.
I have been working on a nationally significant infrastructure project known as the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) for the whole of my career. DIRFT is the UK’s most successful rail-linked logistics park where occupiers like Bohoo, Royal Mail, Tesco, Sainsbury, Dunelm and the NHS deliver goods by road and rail. Working with a team of development experts at Prologis my role is integral to the future development of DIRFT. Seeing the site grow over the last 18 years, the level of investment and the job opportunities we create; and, the creation of the 193-acre Lilbourne Meadows Nature Reserve makes me feel really proud to be in the development industry.
Our new Prologis Hub building at DIRFT assists young, unemployed and disadvantaged people in the South-East Midlands’ area to develop the skills needed to pursue a new career in the logistics sector, that is why they chose the region as the location to launch the Prologis Warehousing and Logistics Training Programme (PWLTP) at The Hub. Globally this programme has an ambitious target of re-training 25,000 individuals by 2025. In the UK, the programme in Northamptonshire and the wider SEMLEP area aims to train 11,000 people in the South-East Midlands’ by 2026.
I joined Prologis in March 2022 because I was inspired by their collaborative approach to delivering the best spaces and places for both customers and for the local community. At Prologis, I am working on some really exciting, industry-leading and innovative projects in the Midlands and central London that will change the face of the logistics industry in the future.
The Covid-19 pandemic has really shone a light on the way we live from the type of housing we want, access to open space and the way we shop (increasingly on-line) and travel. There is a real shortage of town planners both in the Council planning departments and in the private sector (working for consultancies and developers like I do). There is a real push in the industry to champion gender and race equality and encourage diversity into the planning industry. It is a really rewarding career and if you are interested in helping communities or companies decide the best way to use land, shape places where people can live and work; and make decisions on how buildings and landscapes should fit with their local surroundings then a career in planning could be for you!
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking for advice on getting into a career in real estate, planning or logistics.