The road to chartership is not easy.
You need to be organised and ruthless with your time. You will need to sacrifice your evenings and weekends and miss out on social occasions. But it will be worth it once you obtain the coveted letters Member of the Royal Institution ofChartered Surveyors.
Here are 5 things you can do to help you on your journey.
Get a good Counsellor / Supervisor
As part of the APC structured training programme, as a minimum you need a Counsellor. You may also have a Supervisor who you report to on a day-to-day basis.
The Counsellor is the most important person during your training. They will sign off on your competencies and let you know when you are ready for final assessment. You have to be picky when deciding on your Counsellor. In large firms, the Counsellor role is often pushed on to people who don't even have an interest in it. However, there are many people who have a desire to help people, seek them out and show enthusiasm.
I would avoid Counsellors who are in senior leadership positions. I am sure they are very competent professionals, but due to the nature of their roles they may not have the time or energy to dedicate additional time to your progression.
The best Counsellors are Senior staff who operate technical roles. You can learn from them, and they should be able to give you at least an 1 hour every two weeks to review your progress.
Remember, the APC is your journey, and it doesn't matter if you have the smartest QS as your counsellor - you still need to do the work.
Let's say you are starting your APC from today.
You need to spend some time in the beginning mapping out your journey. Your route may change later, but you need to have some idea of what competencies you are going to try and meet within the next 3-6 months.
The best way to do this is to look at your current skillset and experience, and work on those competencies first. For example, if you have been doing a lot of estimating, then the Quantification and Design Economics competencies should be first on your list.
As you progress, you should work with your counsellor to adjust your daily work experience with your APC timetable. This may not always be possible, but if you do not ask, you do not get!
This is probably the hardest thing about the training.
You need to be consistent with your study. Set aside an hour a day for the APC. That could be reviewing the competencies and researching. It could be writing up your diary. It doesn't matter what it is, you just need to be consistent with it.
Consistent study will compound your knowledge and you will be a better surveyor for it.
Questions and Answers
As part of your training, I would integrate regulate Q&A sessions with your counsellor (and supervisor if you have one). If you don't do this then there is no way of checking that you are actually learning what is required of you.
A little bit of pressure is good and will force you to work hard. A good counsellor will test you thoroughly and may also invite guest participants to your sessions to allow you to taste a different questioning style.
Q&A sessions will also give you a chance to test your ability to deliver answers verbally. It's one thing to know the answer, but it's another skill altogether to deliver it in a concise, eloquent manner.
Become a sponge.
Your day-to-day work and your APC study will go hand in hand. You might study something and remember an experience you had which causes a eureka moment - and vice versa.
Utilise the experience of your colleagues, ask questions and make notes every day. This seems like elementary advice but trust me, you have to do it to learn and progress.
If your work experience is not helping you develop APC related skills, speak to your counsellor. If this doesn't help and you feel like you are not getting the experience you need - consider looking for another job!
This may sound like drastic advice - but I did this, and I know many of my colleagues had to do the same. Sometimes the firm's objectives do not align with yours, but you have to put yourself first!
That's all for this post folks, if you have any questions hit me up on LinkedIn!