My first six months at Curtins: Laura Smith

After graduating in July 2018 from the University of Hull, with a 2:1 in BSc Geography, I wanted to allow myself some time to find a career I would enjoy. Whilst at university I enjoyed learning about the many forms of sustainability and the way geographers can help shape the future for future generations. Having undertaken work experience with Hull City Council’s planning department whilst at university, a career in planning was something I was aiming towards.

Allowing myself time after graduating to research what planning entails and the different roles that are out there helped made me decide that Transport Planning within the Curtins Nottingham team was the best role for me. Transport planning is described by the Transport Planning Society as a role in which “preparing, assessing and implementing policies, plans and projects to improve and manage our transport systems.” However, for me it has been so much more than that. I have been able to explain to and educate my friends and family about the important role that transport planners play within encouraging more sustainable modes of transport, as well as guiding clients to think about more sustainable ways of travel whilst following local and national guidelines.

Since starting at Curtins in January 2019, the first 6 months have flown by, but I have learnt so much. As I am new to TP, I have been learning on the job. Learning the technical side of TP from understanding software’s (QGIS, TRACC, CAD etc.) to undertaking site visits and report writing.

The biggest challenge at the start was having to quickly learn how to write in the style of a transport planner. However, being given the opportunity to work on a large Travel Plan I now feel confident that my report writing skills are improving every day.

My favourite part of the job is working with the TP Nottingham team. The Nottingham TP team is smaller than some of the other Curtins’ offices, which has been great for me to get one on one support whilst learning what TP involves on a day to day basis. Being given the opportunity to work on a variety of projects from small to large, with the support and guidance I have had from the team, has been invaluable and the Nottingham office itself is a great environment to work in. It has also been great to be part of Curtins and recognise how important TP is within the company.

During my short time, I have already been given amazing opportunities to be involved inside and outside of work. From having a week away in the Whitecross Bay Lodge in Windermere to attending networking events and the NCE Awards night, as well as receiving training and development through the Curtins Academy. As a graduate within Curtins it has been a great addition to attend the Curtins Academy as a way of meeting other new starters and learning more about Curtins.

Going forward I hope I can keep improving my knowledge by being involved in more projects, and I hope to undertake more training to keep learning and improving.