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As part of NJL Consulting’s Work Experience Placement Programme, Megan Ramsey has recently undertaken a two-week placement, shadowing her line manager, Emily Bates

The two-week placement opportunity at NJL Consulting has allowed Megan to gain an insight into the built environment, particularly in planning and development. This opportunity was timely as it will help Megan determine whether or not this is something she wishes to pursue further either at university or via an apprenticeship. In this post, Megan talks about her experience, and draws reflections on the time spent at NJL with the hope of advising others who may be in the same position. 

My Placement Experience at NJL Consulting – Megan Ramsey: Text

Introduction to Planning… A Geographical Tale

At present I am taking a gap year, having completed my A-levels in June 2023. Throughout my time at Sixth Form, I had particular interest in Human Geography. This introduced me to the impacts, reasons and stages of regeneration, which inspired my coursework. My studies sparked my interests in regeneration, and  I chose to ground this in my hometown, Manchester. Through my research I developed on interest in the planning system and how this influences the delivery of housing and future development of a place., Having grown up in Greater Manchester, and frequenting the city centre, I have witnessed the change in the skyline, which has inspired me to be a part of this change, not only in Manchester, but also in other cities. 

One way I am able to be a part of this movement, is by embarking on a career in the built environment sector. And so, I applied to several different Planning and Human Geography Degrees, as well as apprenticeships. Which now I am told is quite a popular route into planning!

However, before I start at least a 3-year journey at University, I needed to know if I would genuinely enjoy a career in planning, which is why I have undertaken a two- week placement at NJL consulting. 

My Placement Experience at NJL Consulting – Megan Ramsey: Text

The Two- Week Placement

Over the two weeks, I spent each day being guided through the different stages of planning, this has included:

  • Planning appraisals;

  • Preparation of Discharge of Condition covering letters;

  • Site visits; 

  • Attending project meetings;

  • Preparation of public consultation leaflets; and 

  • Researching logistic developments in the North West and the planning status of each site. 

Key Takeaways 

On reflection, my key takeaways from the experience are summarised below:

  1. The realisation of the complexity of the planning process, and that planning is often used as a ‘political football’;

  2. The length of time and different parties involved to secure planning permission from initial site appraisal to the application stage;

  3. Planning conditions are often overly complex and can result in delaying the delivery of sites; 

  4. Further understanding of the role of a planner during the post- submission process, including the monitoring of statutory consultee comments to identify any risks to Clients; and 

  5. The benefits of pre-application advice in building positive relationships with the Council prior to application submission. 


From my experience, I would advise those in a gap year, who are unsure of what they want to pursue in the future to:

  1. Undertake varied work experience in the wider industry you are interested in;

  2. Show potential employers your dedication and drive through having an active LinkedIn, and being engaged with wider updates relevant to them.

By doing the above, it can determine whether your chosen degree or apprenticeship is right for you and ensure you are on the right path going forward.  

Overall, it was an invaluable experience where I gained an insight to the planning and development industry. Throughout the two-week period, I have learnt the wider role of a planner, which will guide me in my future career. Thank you to all the team at NJL Consulting. 

My Placement Experience at NJL Consulting – Megan Ramsey: Text
My Placement Experience at NJL Consulting – Megan Ramsey: Image
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