"I’ve become part of a team and have not only learnt a lot about my own profession, but I’ve also experienced first-hand a culture which promotes and fosters innovation."
Aaron, graduate planner, shares how his career is being shaped by the opportunities that go beyond sitting at his desk. Tell us about your role…
I joined Stantec in May 2021 as a graduate planner in the Glasgow office after studying BSc (Hons) Urban Planning and Property Development at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. I’m involved in the planning and delivery of a number of significant residential, commercial, and energy developments across the UK.
My relationship with Stantec dates back to 2017 when I joined what was previously Peter Brett Associates as an intern—travelling through to Glasgow by train from my hometown just outside of Edinburgh to learn from and work alongside the Scottish Planning and Economics team.
From those early days, I knew that I wanted to work with the team in Glasgow. It wasn’t just the opportunity to work on some of the most interesting infrastructure and development projects in the UK—it was the company culture. At Stantec, we put people first. As a planner committed to community development and active citizenship, I have always stood by a personal and professional penchant: “planning with people at the forefront of decision-making.”
My favourite part of planning is the opportunity to engage with communities the length and breadth of the country and work alongside stakeholders. I’m passionate about building partnerships—good stakeholder engagement and collaboration are vital tools to achieve successful outcomes.
Stantec’s Developing Professionals Group (DPG) provides a great platform to meet and collaborate with others from around the world and closer to home. Last year I took on an additional role as the Glasgow office lead for the DPG. So far, we have been able to organise a graduate day in the office and will be looking to host a series of events in the coming year to bring people together.
Stantec has also been very supportive of my work with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the professional body for planners. In January 2022, I was selected to join the Scottish Young Planners’ Steering Group in addition to my position on the RTPI Scottish Executive Committee. Through my involvement with the RTPI, I hope to help grow the planning profession as well as enhance my own professional development.
I’ve been able to work on several excellent projects so far. In the year that Glasgow hosted COP26, it was fantastic to be heavily involved with a number of renewable energy projects—in particular the Cruachan Pumped Storage Hydro Expansion Project in Argyll and Bute.
Last year also marked the start of my relationship with Fuel Change, a social enterprise which taps into the potential of developing professionals to help fight the climate crisis. I was part of a team of developing professionals from Stantec who participated in the first Fuel Change challenge.
Our team developed an innovative and scalable approach to transform Grangemouth (an industrial complex in central Scotland) into a net zero hub fit for the 21st century and beyond by utilising wastewater to produce green hydrogen. Our approach was well received both internally and externally, so much so that I had the opportunity to present our idea at COP26—not once, but twice!
I’m excited about what the future holds at Stantec and the opportunities that lie ahead. I see Stantec as the best place to continue my professional growth and development given the range of cutting-edge projects I have worked on so far.
I’m a bit of a rugby fanatic—supporting both Edinburgh Rugby and the Scotland national team. So, you’ll often find me at Murrayfield Stadium on matchdays!
Reflecting on my time at Stantec so far, I appreciate that I’ve become part of a team and have not only learnt a lot about my own profession but have also experienced first-hand a culture which promotes and fosters innovation. I would strongly recommend that you find out more about the career opportunities available here at Stantec.