Re:Generation 2031

Harry Zimmerman: my experience

I’m Harry Zimmerman, Cultural Development Assistant at Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC). My role is currently being funded by Re:Generation 2031.

I graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University of East London in 2020 and struggled with finding a way into the industry without experience especially with the impact of covid. I came across the position at EDC when searching jobs in the area I was already aware of the corporation and their vision for Ebbsfleet, and this is why I wanted to work with EDC as it was such a great opportunity for me to gain experience in the built environment although the position was not directly related to my course it was a great opportunity to explore different ways of working in the industry while working on a really interesting project that allows me to build on what I had learnt in my studies.

In my role as Cultural Development Assistant, I meet and work alongside local residents to help with organising events and supporting the start-up of local groups and activities that help to bring together new and existing residents to build a community in an area that is new, constantly developing and changing which presents a lot of challenges and sometimes requires creative solutions to help get things happening here.

In my time at EDC, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of different people who have different roles and experiences across the built environment which has been very useful when thinking about my career and the direction I want to go in. This has also acted as a great networking opportunity to connect with people as well as help to develop my confidence in meeting new people.

As part of the Re:Generation 2031 I received funding for training courses that I might want to pursue. I used the funding to apply for a course on Civic Design, the course covers how to work alongside local communities when delivering urban initiatives.

I have also had the opportunity to participate in other training opportunity’s while at EDC including an Urban Design Foundation course. This has helped to understand how I can apply the knowledge that I gained in my degree to projects I might be asked to comment on in my role at EDC but also has given me the understanding of the role of an urban designer I am now considering this as a future career path. I am currently using some of the knowledge gained from this course to help our design advisors with assessing incoming planning applications against national guidance as well as our own strategies.

The experience of working at EDC and the traineeship has been invaluable to me in setting out my goals for my career and has given me confidence in my skill and knowledge and how I can apply these to my job.

I am currently supporting a programme that aims to bring together community members to help put on events for themselves by finding out what they would like to see in their community and providing them with training to ensure they have all the skills to plan events. They are currently in the final stages of their first event centred around food and culture bringing together dance, music, and food! And they are already talking about what they would like to do in the future which is exciting, and I cannot wait to see what they will bring to Ebbsfleet in the future!