Planning & Design Practice are proud to have an ongoing tradition of encouraging and supporting emerging talent, having offered a number of work experience, work placements and graduate opportunities over our twenty years in practice.
In September 2021, Matthew Kempster a student at the University of Derby studying Architectural Technology, joined us for a yearlong work placement to gain on the job experience of life as part of our approachable and experienced team of RIBA Chartered Architects and architectural assistants.
Having just finished his second year he joined us as a member of the architectural team, and the opportunity to work on a wide range of new and exciting projects. As his placement comes to end, and he returns to university to complete his studies, Matthew reflects on his time with us and the experience he has gained.
“Now that my time at Planning & Design Practice is coming to an end, I thought this was a great opportunity to look back over the past 12 months and the lessons I have learnt, and the impression this will have on my further academic studies.
In early 2021 I was given the opportunity to work at Planning & Design on a year’s paid placement. Money aside, this was a really exciting opportunity for me, up until this point I had had no real-life experience in an architectural practice and was eager to gain some first-hand knowledge.
I joined as part of the Architectural team. I was greeted by the friendly team who welcomed me into the company with open arms and I started working on a wide range of interesting projects that comes into the practice.
One type of project that Planning & Design are particularly know for, are their Class Q barn conversions. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be involved on two such projects during my time at the practice. These projects are really interesting to work on from a design perspective as the existing structure and framework of the barn has to be considered carefully when designing the proposal. The restrictions of the Class Q application itself can also form constraints during the design process, including, restrictions on extensions of the barn outside of the existing fabric or limits to the amount of demolition to the existing structure. The idea of these limitations is to maintain the character of the existing barn during the process of conversion from agricultural use to a home. Working with these wide range of considerations can result in some eye-catching designs for buildings that would otherwise be left to fall into disrepair in the countryside.
Working at Planning & Design has enabled me to learn a lot on a wide range of different areas due to the practices large range and depth of specialisms, which for me has been a brilliant learning experience. One of possibly the biggest areas of learning for me has been how planning can influence the design and a project as a whole, after all without planning a project cannot be realised. These benefits come from Planning & Design’s business model of having experienced planners and senior architects under the same roof. The company also have a heritage team, which I have had the privilege to work with and learn so much about the fascinating histories of the buildings we have worked on and how they are being redeveloped to enable them to be used for generations to come.
Going forward I am going to be finishing my studies at The University of Derby and after that we shall see what the future has in store for me!”
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