Helping the planet paramount for Lincoln graduate

20 May 2021 | Students News

Adrian Xu’s desire to help the planet has led him to a great job as a consent planner at the Christchurch City Council.

Originally from China, he graduated recently with a Master of Planning from Lincoln University and says it’s a pleasure to be able to carry out resource management for people and communities in New Zealand.

“I love this country very much. From the first day I came here, I felt that I was well received by locals. People get along with each other well, regardless of their backgrounds, and it’s a pleasure to live in such a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.

“I also like exploring nature, and New Zealand has a variety of places for hiking, cycling or just enjoying the beauty of nature.”

Adrian’s new job will involve processing land-use resource consent applications and advising customers on these consents.

He says his experience at Lincoln made him “a career-ready person” before he even began attending job interviews and the Master of Planning equipped him with exceptionally useful skills.

“The knowledge I developed in planning law, including specifying classes of activities under certain planning rules, understanding case laws, and writing and presenting evidence have been essentials for being a successful consent planner candidate,” he says.

“Learning to assess the impacts that an activity or activities may bring to the environment, economy, society and culture was another useful skill for getting the job.”

Adrian’s journey to his role at the city council began with his father, now retired, who worked for many years in the environmental sector in China.

“To some extent, I was influenced by him, and I did my undergraduate degree in environmental science.  My first job was as an environmental impact assessment engineer in China,” he says.

“However, I decided to try something else for the next few years. But after trying four or five different types of jobs, I felt I should do what I’m good at and began the Master of Planning.”

Adrian was attracted to Lincoln due to its small size and focus on land and environment.

“I knew that Lincoln students would have more opportunities to engage with teaching staff in smaller classes and would be more likely to focus on specialised knowledge and skills that could benefit their careers.”

Another drawcard was Master of Planning Course Supervisor, Dr Hamish Rennie.

“Before I decided to apply, I asked Hamish about the programme,” Adrian says. “He was super patient and explained everything about the courses, fees, employment prospects and other things I needed to know.

It wasn’t only the information he delivered to me but also his kindness and professional attitude that resulted in my decision to study at LU. Hamish really represented the professionalism of LU staff.

Adrian says the Master of Planning includes a series of intriguing courses that introduce the theory behind planning in a New Zealand context, as well as teaching practical skills and insights “into what is happening on the ground”.

“The degree is also accredited by NZPI, a fundamental planning organisation that networks planning professionals throughout New Zealand. Most New Zealand employers consider an NZPI-accredited degree and NZPI membership as two of the essentials for employing or promoting employees.”

Asked what he enjoyed most about his time at Lincoln, Adrian cited the “abundant opportunities to engage with teaching staff, as they always have an open door policy”.

“Such engagements have greatly benefited me by solving academic questions and discussing potential employment,” he says.

“I also had access to specialised Learning, Teaching and Library staff who could assist me with my study needs, such as writing, statistics and using Endnote. I could schedule appointments with them online, too, which was very convenient.

“Many people I met at Lincoln were helpful, friendly and humorous, which relieved my stress of moving to a new place.”