ITS alumni

Jon Sandford

I am a national lead role on infrastructure planning for Homes England, the UK Government’s agency responsible for delivering housing.  Having joined Homes England in 2010, much of my work has been on the enabling work – collaborating with project partners and stakeholders to progress large scale housing sites through the planning system.  I seek to bring infrastructure issues and solutions into focus for Homes England and in relation to specific projects; an aspect of this is the smart cities agenda – translated to “smart places” at the housing site scale.  Prior to working in Homes England, I worked in engineering consultancy practice for major firms and projects -  having a focus on transportation planning and engineering for masterplanning; in relation to a wider cross section of major development projects.  I am a Chartered Engineer and Town Planner with associated business and management qualifications and experience, based in Manchester.

I chose ITS and the University of Leeds because the course was well respected. I got a grant from SERC.  I followed in the footsteps of other Geographers from Huddersfield Poly, at the time, to go onto to the course at the ITS.  A recession was in effect and this course gave me a strong basis to get a start in the job market. The ITS Transport Planning & Engineering course acted as a vocational professional base that opened the first door to a professional career in transport planning and engineering, giving me a grounding in the key threads of transport planning and transport engineering practice.

The highlight of my career so far has been working for Arup, working on various sports stadia projects. Also with Homes England, developing broader facilitating and enabling skills and an understanding of masterplanning, urban design and the importance of transport infrastructure in unlocking development.

My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is that the course is well respected.  It will give you a strong basis to move forward in a professional transport planning career.  Choose modules that most interest you, even if they may not be the easiest ones to do. The transport sector is a strong one; transport technology will change, but the need for skilled people able to engage with and solve transportation problems will never go away.  However, if working in the UK, ensure that your English skills are as good as they can be to give yourself the best chance of progressing.