Under the Spotlight with Luke Millar

Luke Millar is an Assistant Transport Planner based in our Central office. Luke graduated from Leeds Beckett University in 2019 with a 2:1 degree in BA (Hons) Human Geography, joined the company as a Graduate Transport Planner in 2021, before then completing the Paul Basham Associates Graduate Training Programme last year alongside working on a variety of projects.

What made you choose a role in Transport Planning?

I had very little knowledge of transport planning prior to joining the company, other than a snippet of detail as part of my Human Geography modules. My curiosity came from my interest in learning about new places and looking at maps, both of which are a massive part of transport planning! Following reading into the business and job role, I came to the conclusion that this industry and company would make for the ideal career path to fulfil my interests.

What does your job role involve?

As an Assistant Transport Planner, I am involved in working on numerous projects at one time where I support the project manager through writing reports (Transport Statements, Technical Notes etc), reviewing site layouts and creating supporting drawings using AutoCAD, and liaising with clients via email and phone. It is important that I manage my workload and keep an organised list of projects to ensure that I prioritise work that is more pressing whilst also thinking ahead to project work that I will need to work on at a later date – organisation is key. I also get to undertake site visits, which involves driving all around the country and seeing new places, with the task of obtaining local knowledge and photographic evidence for the reports. Occasionally I will also get involved in business development activities to meet clients and build relationships, which often involve a trip to the pub or some form of sporting activity!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy learning about new places around the country that I would otherwise have never heard of before (who knew Catherine-de-Barnes was a small village on the outskirts of Birmingham?!) as well as getting to visit some of these places, such as the less known Cadishead (located about 30 minutes outside of Manchester). I also enjoy the variety of projects that I get to be involved with and work on, from large residential developments comprising 1,000 homes to an extension to a local family health centre, as well as the mixture of report writing and technical work throughout the working day to keep me engaged. Having said that, I do also enjoy working with repeat clients who have a pool of similar schemes and building deep knowledge on an specific sector – Retirement Living developments I’m looking at you.

The best part about my role, however, is the social side as we try (emphasis on the try) to organise semi-regular evenings out as an office, some of which have included mini-golf, drinks, tapas and the annual pie night around this time of year – though the best social event of the year remains the company Christmas party, which some have better memories of than others!

What achievements are you most proud of since joining Paul Basham Associates?

I am proud of quite a few of the projects that I have had the chance to work on, particularly those that have ended up receiving planning permission! One scheme that springs to mind in particular is a 51-unit Retirement Living scheme in Failsworth. I have been heavily involved in a specific retirement scheme for the last 18 months and that’s something I have enjoyed and I’m proud of. I am also proud of the industry skills, knowledge and confidence I have gained since joining the company 2-years ago, which is something that the senior members of the team have provided a platform for and encouraged by getting me involved in their work and supporting me since my first day. This has allowed me to become self-assured in speaking to clients about and managing projects independently, something I wouldn’t have been confident in doing 2 years ago. However, what I am most proud of since joining Paul Basham Associates was my promotion from Graduate to Assistant Transport Planner, thanks to the huge emphasis the company places on internal growth.

I have also accomplished things outside of the office since joining the company that I am proud of too, these include completing a team triathlon at Blenheim with other members of the company, trekking the 43km Inca Trail across the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu, scaling Ben Nevis, and being on the verge of buying my first home with and getting engaged to my partner (hello Vicky, I know you’ll be reading this).

What do you do in your free time?

I like to think that I have mastered the art of a work-life balance and I’m pretty good at switching off once I leave the office each day and at the end of the week. My free time is usually spent playing or watching football, which as a Newcastle United fan has been surprisingly enjoyable in the last 2 years! I play football every Wednesday and watch football most weekends (if I can get away with it…!), as well as the Formula One too. During the evenings where my favourite sports are not an option, I enjoy playing video games, watching a film/TV series or going out for food.