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Master of Planning internship broadens thinking

Monday, 21 March 2016 11:54am

Harris-image
Planning on campus … (from left) University Property Services Strategy and Planning Manager Maurice Roers, Master of Planning student and intern Nathan Harris, and Professional Practice Fellow and Geography Master of Planning Programme Coordinator Ros Day-Cleavin.

Otago's Nathan Harris is the first student from the Master of Planning course to be an intern with the University's Property Services, during a highly successful initiative in the summer break.

Professional Practice Fellow and Master of Planning Programme Coordinator Ros Day-Cleavin says “Property Services has so many planning activities taking place in terms of strategic direction and resource management that it makes sense to have one of our student planners gain ‘on the ground’ experience within the campus.”

"We get the direct benefit of the work of a sharp person and the wider benefit of interfacing with young planners; it forces us to broaden our thinking in our daily work."

Mr Harris received a stipend for his 10-weeks’ work; which included examining parking needs and solutions for the south campus around the Health Science precinct, helping with resource consent work, and compiling feedback for the New Zealand Transport Authority on the cycleway plan for State Highway One.

He says “the resource management work cemented what we have already learned in MPlan, so it was good to get that real-world application of the course content. Other projects helped expand my skill set beyond those core concepts. This included calculating parking demand, exploring options for meeting that demand and carrying out real estate proforma (projecting the financial return/feasibility of a development).

“The Property Services people I was working with were really knowledgeable. I had a few chats with them about their varied career paths and that was really valuable. As were some of the soft skills I gained, things like making the most out of meetings and how to conduct a meeting. The internship as a whole was a really worthwhile experience.”

Property Services Strategy & Planning Manager Maurice Roers says the advantages of having interns of Mr Harris’s calibre within Property Services are clear: “We get the direct benefit of the work of a sharp person and the wider benefit of interfacing with young planners; it forces us to broaden our thinking in our daily work.”