DHA's Graduate Programme

A Q&A with Alex Payne, Planner at DHA, following his success in DHA's graduate scheme

Congratulations to Alex Payne, who has recently achieved a distinction in his Masters Degree after taking part in DHA's graduate programme. Here we have a quick Q&A with him on his experience as a DHA Graduate:

Congratulations Alex on completing your Masters Degree! What skills would you say you've gained from DHA’s graduate programme?

The graduate programme has vastly increased my planning knowledge and given me great exposure to a variety of projects across a range of sectors, including residential, industrial, and agricultural. This has been helped by working with several teams within DHA which has also improved my teamworking and communication skills. I have been encouraged to be responsible for my own clients and projects requiring me to create solutions in order to achieve the desired, positive outcomes. 

How do you think being a DHA graduate will benefit your career?

DHA have been very supportive whilst undertaking the part-time masters and have always encouraged me to push myself. DHA strive to achieve excellence and complete projects to a high standard and this ethos and culture is something they instil in graduates. They have put their trust in me and allowed me to progress and take responsibility of my own clients whilst assisting other teams and colleagues. A big advantage is being able to gain experience across a range of sectors through working on some very different projects.

What has been your highlight so far?

Having joined the Environment Team I have been involved in a number of Development Consent Orders (DCOs) which are very intensive and hard work but also very rewarding. Being part of the examination and hearings was really interesting and insightful but standing at the top of a partially constructed waste-to-energy facility was exciting, if not a little daunting.

Would you recommend the programme to other graduates, and if so why?

The DHA graduate programme is a great opportunity for graduates who have little planning experience as well as those already working in the planning sector as you gain great experience and knowledge. Projects can range from small householder projects to large residential and commercial schemes, as well as everything in between and there is an extensive knowledge base with the DHA team to learn from. There is the option to work with different teams and this is readily encouraged which is great for improving teamworking and communication skills. In addition, DHA will support you along the way and many of the previous graduates are still with DHA to provide guidance and advice.


If you're looking to join one of the southeast's fastest growing and innovative organisations, DHA's graduate recruitment opportunities are aimed to help you achieve your full potential, whether it’s in town planning, highways and transportation, environmental management or land development - we provide a tailor made “on the job” training programme.

With over 40% of our staff having progressed through our graduate training programme the results speak for themselves.

For more information on how to apply please visit our careers page here.


For more information call 01622776226 or email:

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