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London, UK
at Public Practice

Public Practice is currently searching for an associate to join its practice in London.

Who we are

Public Practice is a social enterprise with a mission to improve the quality and equality of everyday places. We believe that the built environment is where the symptoms and solutions to society’s most complex challenges are played out, from the crisis in the availability of affordable housing to struggling high streets, or climate change. We think the public sector plays a fundamental role in creating places that are spatially, socially and economically inclusive and sustainable. Public planners – who we see as any built environment practitioners working in the public sector – can be hugely influential in shaping the world around us for the public good.

Public Practice is building the public sector’s capacity for proactive planning by selecting talented and diverse built environment practitioners – associates – for placements within forward-thinking public organisations – authorities. If selected, you will join a cohort of associates that is broad in terms of disciplines, ages and backgrounds, and united by a commitment to working with communities, in the public interest.

Who you are

Public Practice is looking for talented built environment practitioners who are interested in working for the public good. We believe creating diverse and inclusive places relies on creating a diverse and inclusive profession. We want our cohorts to be diverse in terms of skills, experience, and backgrounds and actively encourage applications from sections of the community that are under-represented in the built environment sector, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or disability.

You may be looking for a new career challenge, an alternative route into the public sector, a temporary secondment to experience working in the built environment from a different perspective or to give something back towards the end of your career.

You may have experience in planning, surveying, architecture, urban design, project management, landscape architecture, sustainability, community engagement or historic environments – or you may not fit into any one of those categories. We are equally keen to receive applications from practitioners with alternative expertise. There are no fixed requirements in terms of qualifications, background or age, but we do expect associates to have a minimum of three years’ professional experience. There is no upper limit.

The role

Public Practice offers influential 12 or 18 month paid placements within local authorities and other public organisations. We work with authorities to create roles that give you the conditions to support change that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. You will have opportunities to work across teams and departments, introduce new ways of working and help build the skills and knowledge of colleagues.

As an associate, you will spend 90% of your time working for your host authority on projects chosen to make use of your skills and expertise. The remaining 10% will be dedicated to working with fellow associates on collective research and development, overseen by Public Practice. This programme will include an induction, space to develop and share new knowledge and practice, and mentoring from leading public planners. At the end of your placement, you will be supported to find routes into permanent roles within the public sector and will become a member of our alumni network.

Public Practice placements are opportunities to make a direct difference to everyday places, as well as seed change from within the system. These are not standard job descriptions. Roles range from starting-up a housebuilding programme to trialling co-design with tenants; from reshaping the masterplan for a garden town to rethinking an authority’s approach to small sites; or from writing new policies on sustainable transport to helping a high street adapt to new patterns of shopping. They may involve connecting different departments, introducing new digital tools, or making minor tweaks to policies with far-reaching consequences. We match associates to authorities based on what you can offer a role and what the role can offer you.

Beyond your own placement, the research and development programme gives you the opportunity to build capacity for proactive planning within and across authorities. You will co-produce resources to share the issues and solutions you come across through your placement. And beyond your own organisation, Public Practice gives a platform to promote the work of the wider sector, helping to influence industry leaders, policymakers and practitioners to reimagine public planning and realise its potential as an agent of change.


We ask for associates to make a 12 or 18-month commitment to Public Practice, from 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020 or 31 March 2021, either via a fixed term contract with their authority, or a secondment agreement between their authority and current employer.


You will be willing to consider a full-time-equivalent salary of £30,000-£70,000, per year, depending on the seniority of the role and your experience.


You will be willing to consider placements at an authority within London, the South East or East of England. Potential placements range from Camden to Cambridge and Barnet to Brighton, and we will look to match you with a placement that works for your personal circumstances and location. You will need to have the legal right to work in the UK as of October 2019.

How to apply

To apply, complete our online application form.

Applications close at midday on Monday 3 June 2019.

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a placement workshop on 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th July 2019 in central London.

Further information

For more information, see our website to view our prospectus for associates, FAQs and to read the biographies of our current and past associates.

  • Applications have closed.