Making plans to move to the Waikato from South Africa after finishing high school was an obvious choice for Lana Kotze, since Hamilton happened to be a similar size to her hometown.
Choosing to study Environmental Planning at Waikato University was another easy choice for a girl who loves the environment and had heard about the uniqueness and reputation of the Bachelor of Environmental Planning.
Specific career path
“I think the thing that attracted me to study Environmental Planning most was the fact that I was studying towards a specific career path. I took comfort in knowing that by the end of my degree, I would know exactly where I was going.”
It was that logic that drove Lana exactly to where she wanted to go.
Landing a job as a graduate planner for the New Zealand Transport Agency at the end of 2013 just before she’d finished her degree was the icing on the cake for Lana.
Today, her main responsibility lies within assessing applications for resource consents for anything from two lot subdivisions to the designation of electricity transmission lines, as well as supporting other planners with district plan reviews and spatial plan development.
Real life application
“The best part of my job is seeing how everything I learnt from my Environmental Planning degree comes together in real life,” says Lana.
“I work with people who are really passionate about what they do, and I’ve learnt so much over the past few months because people have been willing to share their knowledge with me.”
Lana had secured her position before she had finished university, and she says that it is important to start looking for positions early and keep on top of what’s out there.
“This graduate position was specifically advertised for graduates with a planning qualification, so that alone helped me jump through the first hoop. However, while a degree signals to a potential employer that you are employable, you really need to push yourself to stand out from the crowd.”
In planning for the future, Lana would like to assist with the planning side of larger transport and infrastructure projects.
“I think planners are key to ensuring transportation and land use are integrated in the long term.”
Lana is graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Planning at Claudelands Events Centre on 16 April.