Who is a physical planner?
A physical planner also known as urban planner, town planner, spatial planner or simply a planner is a professional whose work is to plan how land is going to be used for various uses such as; residential, commercial, industrial, educational, religious and recreational among other land uses. These professionals develop land use plans and associated programs that aid in creating sustainable communities, counties, towns and cities.
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In short, planners, plan or shape how rural communities, towns and urban centres develop considering environmental sustainability among other key considerations.They submit planning applications to County and National Government in order to secure development approvals for their clients.
Planners work in collaboration with other professionals such as; architects, engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, environmental scientists among other stakeholders.
What is physical planner’s work environment?
Physical planners work in offices preparing planning applications or reports as well as meeting clients and other project professionals. Besides, these professional visit project sites to collect data required for planning applications.
What are some physical planner’s career opportunities?
Physical planning or urban planning jobs can be found within government, academia, private sector and non-governmental organizations.
Typical employment areas include; government departments and ministries dealing with town or urban planning issues, Non-Governmental Organizations, Engineering firms, architectural firms, registered physical planning firms, urban planning firms, environmental management companies, educational institutions and conservation organizations among other areas.
Physical planners can also opt to start their own planning consultancy firms.
How to become a physical planner in Kenya.
Secondary school subject selection plays a vital role in determining ones career choice. This is because, the subjects you are going to choose while in secondary school will determine ones future career choice(s). Young people should therefore become aware of the subject requirements for various career options.
High School Preparation
To pursue a career as a physical planner, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.
- SUBJECT 1: MAT A,
- SUBJECT 2: any GROUP II,
- SUBJECT 3: any GROUP III,
- SUBJECT 4: 2nd GROUP II or 2nd GROUP III or a GROUP IV or any GROUP V (Subject source); JAB/ Kuccps
Education and Training Routes
There are various education and training pathways you can pursue and become a physical planner right here in Kenya. If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with a good overall mean grade of at least KCSE C+ (plus) and above, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).
However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option, you can still pursue it through a different route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help you further your education along this pathway.
So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become a physical planner?
- Bachelor of Arts in Urban & Regional Planning
- Bsc/ BA in Spatial Planning or similar course(s). KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above.
- Diploma in Land surveying,
- Diploma in Cartography,
- Diploma in Photogrammetry,
- Diploma in Building construction,
- Diploma in Architecture
- Or related fields with a credit pass or equivalent. These diplomas require at least a KCSE mean grade of C- (minus).
It is important to note that, with any of the above diplomas, you can either choose to get a job in line with your training or further your education to your chosen career path.
Important skills to have
To work successfully as a physical planner, you will be required to possess important skills some of which are listed below.
- Analytical skills,
- Communication skills,
- Decision making skills,
- Management skills,
- Research skills,
- Technical skills
- Writing skills,
- Interpersonal skills,
- Problem solving skills,
- Creativity skills
- Planning and organizational skills
- Presentation skills
- Leadership skillsamong others
Throughout your education and training, these skills will be emphasized.However, it’s your responsibility to make sure before you enter the job market; you possess much of these skills.
How to Join College and or university
There are two ways you can follow to join training institution(s) in pursuit of your career of choice. The majority way is applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). This is a state owned agency that admits/ places government sponsored students to colleges and universities. One of the advantages of applying through Kuccps is that, upon successful placement, you will pay subsidized fee as a government sponsored student.
To be placed through Kuccps you must have attained a certain pass mark required for various education levels for (degrees/diplomas/certificates etc.) For more details on placement criteria, visit Kuccps website. The second approach is applying directly to training institution of your choice. Students who opt to apply this way do not get government fee subsidy and are therefore self-sponsored.
How to fund your post-secondary education.
If you are a needy student, upon application, you can get education loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), a state owned institution that gives education loans to students joining technical colleges and universities. You can also access education bursaries from your local Member of Parliament (MP) or the County Government among other sources.
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