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Thread: Graduate planning opportunities in OZ? (Coastal in particular!)

  1. #1
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    Graduate planning opportunities in OZ? (Coastal in particular!)

    Fellow Cyburbians…..

    I write in search of some advice regarding working as a planner in Australia. I am aware that such posts are submitted from time to time but was wondering if someone can provide me some up to date advice… I will try and be as concise as possible!

    I a 26 year old, English MA graduate Town and Country Planner with a BA in Geography. I have studied regeneration, GIS, strategic planning, urban design, environmental impact and strategic environmental assessment and have principal interests in coastal management and marine planning. I have 1 years experience with Scott Wilson LTD (environmental consultancy) in GIS, but I left after 13 months as I won a full government scholarship to study my Master’s degree in Planning. (I like and appreciate GIS but do not want to do this full-time).


    My concern is that I do not have the 3 years experience in planning sought by Australian immigration. I plan to arrive September 2011, by which time I will have roughly one year of (part time) experience (with the graduate job market so slow in the UK I have had to gain work experience on a voluntary basis and have therefore needed to keep my part time (paid) job too). I am hoping that such experience, with my one year in GIS (a skill on the critical list) will be enough to be accepted for a full working visa. My partner is a Marketing Account Manager and has 3 years experience.


    Can anyone provide me a realistic account of my chances of getting employed somewhere? As I said my principal interests are in Coastal Management and planning, although I would be happy to get involved in more land-use planning if that is where the shortages lye. Is it common for local government in Australia to have specific coastal management and planning departments? If so this would serve as an excellent route in.

    How can I access employers that may be willing to sponsor me? I have visited numerous immigration and employment websites but they all seem to demand a fee to process such queries.

    Are my chances more likely in specific regions? We are keen surfers and would like to be close to the sea. I have only visited Perth in Australia, and am aware that most sealife there wants to eat or sting you!

    Is my limited work experience likely to hinder my application, or will my MA in planning help my case be sped up?

    If anyone could help me answer any of these questions it would be fantastic. Or if anyone knows of any recruitment agencies that may deal with cases like mine that would be useful. My CV is available on request.

    Thank you very much

    Guy
    Last edited by guyr; 27 May 2010 at 6:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by guyr View post
    Fellow Cyburbians…..

    I write in search of some advice regarding working as a planner in Australia. I am aware that such posts are submitted from time to time but was wondering if someone can provide me some up to date advice… I will try and be as concise as possible!

    I a 26 year old, English MA graduate Town and Country Planner with a BA in Geography. I have studied regeneration, GIS, strategic planning, urban design, environmental impact and strategic environmental assessment and have principal interests in coastal management and marine planning. I have 1 years experience with Scott Wilson LTD (environmental consultancy) in GIS, but I left after 13 months as I won a full government scholarship to study my Master’s degree in Planning. (I like and appreciate GIS but do not want to do this full-time).


    My concern is that I do not have the 3 years experience in planning sought by Australian immigration. I plan to arrive September 2011, by which time I will have roughly one year of (part time) experience (with the graduate job market so slow in the UK I have had to gain work experience on a voluntary basis and have therefore needed to keep my part time (paid) job too). I am hoping that such experience, with my one year in GIS (a skill on the critical list) will be enough to be accepted for a full working visa. My partner is a Marketing Account Manager and has 3 years experience.


    Can anyone provide me a realistic account of my chances of getting employed somewhere? As I said my principal interests are in Coastal Management and planning, although I would be happy to get involved in more land-use planning if that is where the shortages lye. Is it common for local government in Australia to have specific coastal management and planning departments? If so this would serve as an excellent route in.

    How can I access employers that may be willing to sponsor me? I have visited numerous immigration and employment websites but they all seem to demand a fee to process such queries.

    Are my chances more likely in specific regions? We are keen surfers and would like to be close to the sea. I have only visited Perth in Australia, and am aware that most sealife there wants to eat or sting you!

    Is my limited work experience likely to hinder my application, or will my MA in planning help my case be sped up?

    If anyone could help me answer any of these questions it would be fantastic. Or if anyone knows of any recruitment agencies that may deal with cases like mine that would be useful. My CV is available on request.

    Thank you very much

    Guy
    You can check out the PIA website for more info (www.planning.org.au) as they usually keep a list of current vacancies. Some of these employers (usually the larger ones like SKM or GHD, as well as those based in the regional areas) may be more willing to sponsor overseas workers with a work visa. I was one of those who was quite blessed to have been sponsored by a regional employer.

    One of the websites you can also subscribe to is a mailing list of jobs called Jobs in Planning (http://www.jobsinplanning.com/). Each week, they will email on a list of jobs available in the planning sector in Australia. If I'm not wrong, the email list is supported by Hays, which has a rather large arm dealing with planning and development jobs.

    In terms of independent migration, as Oz is having a revamp of their PR process at the moment, things appear rather sketchy. A couple of my friends who have applied this year are told that they will only know if they have PR in 2012, but they are currently on temporary work visas. Nonetheless, the good news is that urban planners are anticipated to be one of the new List of Skilled Occupations released on 17 May 2010. Check out the Department of Immigration website (www.immi.gov.au) for more details.

    As for coastal management, you can check out this website for Victoria: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vr...m_coastal_mgmt. It may also help if you source out some of the coastal councils like Surf Coast or Corangamite Shire (part of the Great Ocean Road runs through these councils).

    Hope these helps.

  3. #3
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    Great help

    Josh,

    Thank you very much for your information. It was really useful. As I mentioned; I have read dozens of emigration websites but have struggled to get some realistic and concise answers so many thanks.I think the state sponsored route looks like a great way to get started. Are you currently in Singapore or Australia? What nationality are you and how did you get state sponsorship? The state governments don't appear to clearly advertise sponsorship opportunities. Do you know if such sponsorship is common? My concern is that Australians would be more likely to (quite rightly) provide native graduates employment before foreigners. With my interests in coastal management Queensland would be a great place to go. I have a few friends in Oz at the moment that are returning as their one year visas are expiring, although they are not planners. Do you think going out on a one year working holiday visa is rather risky?

    Thanks again for your advice. Reply at your convenience.

    Guy

  4. #4
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    Guy

    The other site I'd suggest is www.lgnet.com.au It has a fair few local government positions (mainly WA based).

  5. #5
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Hi Guy,

    Hopefully in a couple of days i can give you more info. But i will be quite honest- in terms of planning in Sydney, there is hardly any jobs going around. Local government does not have much, the State gov has more though. Your best bet is to try private firms, they may be more willing to sponsor you- or you may get lucky with the state government.

    The easiest place to find work in local government is in rural and regional centres- and this may not help your surfing hobby!

    Just remember, like anywhere, you will be competing against local people with local experience, you will have to prove you have had proper working and project experience.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    No probs. My replies to your questions.

    Quote Originally posted by guyr View post
    Are you currently in Singapore or Australia? What nationality are you and how did you get state sponsorship?
    Currently in Singapore and I'm Singaporean.

    I applied for the State sponsorship through Victoria, which was where I did my undergraduate degree.

    Quote Originally posted by guyr View post
    The state governments don't appear to clearly advertise sponsorship opportunities. Do you know if such sponsorship is common?
    If I'm not wrong, only a few states offer the State sponsorship route. I did hear that there have been a few changes to the State sponsorship route since I took it up in 2006.

    The essence of the State sponsorship route is that they will sponsor you a PR provided that
    1. You are willing to live in that State for 2 years
    2. You have a relevant occupation within the State sponsor occupation list. Each State has its own set of occupations that are in demand and this list will change from State to State. For instance, if planners are in demand in Vic, but not in SA, I can only apply for the State sponsorship route for VIC.
    3. Some may require working experiences. Check out the relevant State websites for info.

    Quote Originally posted by guyr View post
    My concern is that Australians would be more likely to (quite rightly) provide native graduates employment before foreigners. With my interests in coastal management Queensland would be a great place to go. I have a few friends in Oz at the moment that are returning as their one year visas are expiring, although they are not planners. Do you think going out on a one year working holiday visa is rather risky?
    Personally I do think it is slightly more risky and you should be prepared that you may have to return if you take up the 1 year route. If you're here just to 'test waters' and to try living overseas for a year or so, then I think the 1-year temp visa is fine. Else, it'd be better if you can try to apply for a sponsored work visa.

    As I have left Oz, I'm not sure what the current employment status is like in the country so you will need someone who's working there now to update you more on the job opportunities and the like.

    You can find out more about Queensland here:
    http://www.workliveplay.qld.gov.au

    Since you're interested in coastal management, it's likely that most of the councils that hire such coastal management grads are located outside the urban core. In that regard, you may wish to consider the State sponsored regional visa (i.e. you can only live and work in regional areas)

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
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    Thanks again for your information. I think you are right, and I think that going down the one year route and trying to find work that way, although risky is a good idea. I will have to be prepared to go knocking on doors and be available to move around! My girlfriend is an experienced Marketing Account manager so we should look at her opportunities to get sponsorship too; previously as her occupation wasn't on the demanded list we had focused on planning. QLD sounds perfect, I have only visited Perth previously. What are the opportunities for planning graduates in Singapore like at the moment? I know the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) are becoming quite established over there.

    Thanks Again Josh. I really appreciate your help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    Hi Guy,

    Hopefully in a couple of days i can give you more info. But i will be quite honest- in terms of planning in Sydney, there is hardly any jobs going around. Local government does not have much, the State gov has more though. Your best bet is to try private firms, they may be more willing to sponsor you- or you may get lucky with the state government.

    The easiest place to find work in local government is in rural and regional centres- and this may not help your surfing hobby!

    Just remember, like anywhere, you will be competing against local people with local experience, you will have to prove you have had proper working and project experience.
    Thanks Natski, I am keener for work on the Gold / Sunshine coast areas ideally opposed to Sydney but your detail is really useful thanks. I thought state sponsorship was more likely than private sector? I think taking the risk of the one year visa, being prepared to go knocking on doors and making myself available to relocate is my best option. Any updates would be really useful! Thanks again

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by guyr View post
    What are the opportunities for planning graduates in Singapore like at the moment? I know the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) are becoming quite established over there.

    Sorry for the late reply. As per other countries, you can work as a planner in the private or public sectors.

    But the main difference in Singapore (as well as Asia in general) is that private sector planners essentially do master planning work, which involves a bit of stats, design and lots of common sense. Most have design background, coming from architecture or landscape architecture.

    There is some scope for strategic planning work, although that type of work is mostly done by economists, sociologists, etc, i.e. folks with specialised background.

    As for the public sector, there is a wide range of agencies to work for, but the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is the national planning authority for Singapore, which is where I work. Essentially we do both statutory and strategic planning work. The strategic side involves master planning, urban design, development coordination and land use planning (a la deciding on what sort of land uses can be allowed where), intermixed with marketing, project management, etc. There are a couple of overseas graduates here at the moment.

    But the key is that the culture for planning here is slightly more top-down than bottom-up, and that has an impact on how planning is done here.

    As for the RTPI, I'm not quite sure, although we do have a Singapore Institute of Planners (SIP). You can google for their website.

    Hope this helps!

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