- Course: MSc Transport Planning and the Environment
- Year of graduation: 2018
- Nationality: UK
- Job title: Graduate Transport Planner
- Company: Mott MacDonald
I currently work as a Transport Planner at Mott MacDonald and have primarily focused on highway and public transport design. My day to day work is very varied and has covered technical, administrational, reporting and presentational work for transport projects of all different sizes.
My experience at ITS gave me a strong technical knowledge base on the fundamentals of transport planning and modelling and I use what I learnt and the skills gained on a day to day basis in my job. The range of opportunities you are given, such as working in a multi-disciplinary team on a real world project, the multiple field trips and research opportunities for your dissertation are fantastic and really helped to build my communication and collaboration skills and confidence throughout the year. I really liked the fact that the modules offered also allow you the opportunity to pursue your own transport interests in specific subject areas and this really helped to improve my independent working and research skills. Ultimately on completion of the course I felt that I was equipped with a good skill set which I needed to start out in my career and succeed in the workplace.
I studied for my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds in the School of Earth and Environment and in my final year I opted to pick a module in transport offered by ITS. The module was great and really got me interested in the field of transport and I decided on a whim to look into masters degree options at ITS after trying and failing to get any graduate job offers. I saw there was a course offered in Transport Planning and the Environment and thought it would be a good opportunity to utilise the knowledge I gained from my undergraduate degree, whilst also learning about something which was completely new to me. I knew that ITS had a great teaching and research reputation and was a school that was well recognized by employers, so it seemed that it was the best option for me.
My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is to go for it! Choosing to study at ITS was without a doubt one of the best academic decisions I made. The courses offered really set you up for working in the transport industry across the world as the teaching content is not just UK focused. Module content is also so varied and the teachings are very forward thinking in terms of including a range of content on transport innovations and new technologies and thought groups in the transport industry. One of the best aspects of studying at ITS is the community you meet and become part of. You get the opportunity to meet, study and form friendships with people from around the world with a range of different life experiences and knowledge about the world of transport who you can learn so much from. There is also a great social scene at ITS and it definitely isn’t all work and no play. Ultimately what you gain from the courses on offer from both a knowledge and personal growth basis will stand you in good stead for working in the sector.
Going into the transport sector right now is also a great career option as sustainable, equitable mobility and transport innovations are a key part of the ongoing environmental discussions around the world. There are also so many career paths and specialisms within the transport sector, so there is most likely something that will appeal to your interests and skill set. My final bit of advice would be to reach out to the school’s alumni network as you will be able to hear first-hand about different peoples masters experiences and also the huge range of different career options that stem from completing a degree at ITS.
The highlight of my career so far is getting to work on one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects from the outset and throughout my career so far has been a definite highlight. Working on HS2 has given me a fantastic insight into a range of different aspects of transport planning and modelling work and the challenges and complexities of large-scale project work. I have also had the opportunity whilst working on this project to take models through the full process, from the initial model build to the result output, analysis and report write up. The process was on the whole a steep learning curve, but it was a rewarding one to see completed.
When it came to finding and applying for jobs I found that the staff at ITS were really helpful and you were able to get assistance and advice on job applications and CVs. Job opportunities available in the industry were also well advertised throughout the year. The seminar sessions and alumni events with industry professionals were also a great way to see and hear about the range of work different organisations do and connect with those already in the industry.