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Public Practice Associate


Public Practice places built environment practitioners from diverse backgrounds in paid placements of 12 months or longer within public organisations. 

After completing a two-stage application process successful candidates (known as Associates) are matched to relevant local government roles who also have to apply to host placements. Selected Associates will secure fixed-term employment, or secondments from their current employer, with a salary of £30,000 – £70,000 depending on the Authority and role. For the first 12 months, 90% of your time will be spent working for your host Authority, with the remaining 10% dedicated to working as a cohort on collective learning, development and research, overseen by Public Practice. 


Placements can range from starting-up a housebuilding programme to trialling co-design with tenants; from economic viability studies to community wealth-building initiatives; from influencing 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. You might find yourself training local politicians, co-designing with local community groups, or acting as the client of your industry peers.

You can read all the bios of our current Associates and what they are working on in their placement:


Public Practice is looking for practitioners who are interested in working in the public sector. You may be looking for a new work challenge, a part-time or flexible solution after a career break, 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. 

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 have experience in planning, surveying, infrastructure, property, architecture, engineering, urban design, landscape, community engagement, project management, data science, masterplanning, transport planning, sustainability or heritage – 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 within the workplace so that you are able to hit the ground-running from the start. There is no upper limit. 

Whatever your background or level of experience, we are looking for the following competencies in all Associates:

  • Initiative - the determination to make the most out of every opportunity and take action when confronted with challenges.
  • Empathy - the capacity to appreciate, hold and work with the perspectives of a diverse range of individuals and institutions.
  • Humility - a bias towards modesty in the evaluation of oneself, and a tendency to encourage the contributions of others.
  • Perspective - the ability to see the big picture and the fine details, and the vision to imagine change in the short, medium and long-term.
  • Resilience - the capacity to remain motivated and demonstrate flexibility when faced with difficult situations, apathy and inertia.
  • Sensitivity to quality - an appreciation of the way things work, look and feel, and how these characteristics relate to one another.
  • Fascination with places - a passion for the physical, social and economic factors that make a place.

All Associates will need to have the legal right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply to the programme.


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 the climate emergency. We think the public sector plays a fundamental role in creating places that are spatially, socially and economically inclusive and sustainable. Being a public planner – by which we mean any built environment expert working in the public sector – can be hugely influential in shaping the world around us for the benefit of everyone.

You can read examples of our press coverage on our website at 


Public Practice placements generally offer flexibility in terms of working patterns, compressed hours, part-time roles and remote working. Associates can expect to join a team who share a respect for diversity in their environment and humility as public servants. 


We ask for Associates to make a minimum 12-month commitment to Public Practice, from 30 November 2020 - 29 November 2021, either via a fixed-term contract with their Authority, or a secondment agreement between their Authority and their 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. Although many Authorities offer flexible working options, all Associates will be required to travel to locations across this region during R&D days so we are not able to consider candidates who would not be able to do this. 


  • We strongly recommend you read our FAQs and further information on our programme before applying by going to our website:
  • The first stage of the application process is completing our Online Form, where you will be assessed on your answers to four short written questions: 
  • Applications close at midday on Monday 20 July 2020.
  • If your application is successful and we have a suitable role available for you,  you will be invited to an online placement workshop on 1, 2, 3, or 4 September 2020. 


If, for accessibility reasons, you are unable to submit the initial application using the online form, we are happy for you to submit your application in an alternative format. Please email or call 020 3858 7447 to discuss your requirements.

Public Practice Associate

Public Practice
London, UK
5 - 10 years of experience
£30,000 - £70,000 dependent on experience

Published on 22 Jun 2020