I first heard about the graduate programme through a careers fair at my university. Having looked for graduate opportunities for quite a while, nothing had really jumped out. I was interested in the kind of opportunities that are provided in local government and how the work you carry out can actually make a difference to people.
I’d graduated with a degree in Business and didn’t really have any experience in the transport industry. The Council have been really on the ball in terms of training, sending me on a weekly lecture series in London to gain an understanding of the principles and issues faced in the industry. To date, I’ve been on various other training courses which have really added to my skills and experience which would look great on my CV.
My day to day work is quite varied – whether it’s analysing traffic patterns or working on funding documents. I get involved in pretty much all aspects of my department’s responsibilities and find myself working closely with different members of the team on quite a regular basis. It’s also great to get out and about around Suffolk – so far I’ve worked a lot in Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and regularly visited the new spine road in Lowestoft as it was under construction.
I generally have two or three projects on the go at once, with my biggest to date being an analysis of congestion in Bury St Edmunds. This involved various analytical tools to identify congested areas alongside census data analysis and accident data analysis. The whole project culminated in identifying the key areas for improvement in Bury and a proposal for recommended works. It was encouraging and very informative to take control of a project and see it through – and the end result is being used to inform policy.
Since I’ve been on the placement, I’ve learned a huge amount about the industry and local government. I’ve developed my understanding of the issues faced by transport planners – particularly in a political environment – and the methods by which they can be overcome. I’ve also gained an insight into the funding process and bringing a scheme from conception through to implementation.
At the moment, my main project is to work with the New Anglia LEP to attract Government funding to the region. This involves researching different proposed schemes in the LEP area, highlighting their individual benefits and communicating the regional growth strategy in such a way as to encourage funding. I’m also working with Ipswich Borough Council to investigate cycle storage provision in the town and have continual involvement in the Travel Ipswich scheme.