On Friday 18 March a celebration lunch was held to share the success of nine planners and surveyors who had recently passed their APC exams. The lunch was attended by our Managing Partner Andrew Bridge and members of our early careers graduate team; Marie-Ange Ehrhart, Ben Minns, Ellie Savage, and Matthias Charlton.
The Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) is an exam graduates must pass to become chartered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for surveyors or with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for planners. The APC ensures that candidates are competent in their field of work and meet the high standards of professionalism required to become a chartered surveyor or planner. These are a mix of technical and professional practice, interpersonal, business and management skills.
All nine who were sponsored by the organisation to obtain the qualification already have an accredited degree. Surveyors Abigail Hicklin, Charles Barton, Frances Houseman, James Thompson, and Maisy Moseley, Robyn Dearden and Charlotte Jones had to complete two years’ experience and structured training. The candidates then had to submit a case study, summary of experience and CPD record and attend a gruelling one-hour long interview.
Planners Emily Weston and Molly Phillips also had to complete two years’ experience followed by the submission of a practical experience statement, a professional competence statement and professional development plan. The planning APC does not involve an interview.
Marie-Ange Ehrhart, Early Careers Talent Advisor, based at out Banbury office said: “We offer a huge amount of support to our graduate surveyors in the form of a counsellor, supervisor, and doctor. A Supervisor will normally be someone that works closely with the candidate and will know what type of work they get involved in and at what level. Our Counsellors are usually in a more senior role and this support is the only requirement as far as the RICS is concerned. At Fisher German we go above and beyond this and provide an extra layer of support to those studying for their APC. A Doctor usually sits outside their team and offer impartial support and constructive advice to the candidate based on their own experience. They have usually recently qualified themselves and will meet with the graduate every six months.”
The planning team recently developed their own graduate training programme which runs separately through our planning department. Graduates are still expected to attend the main graduate sessions and will still be supported by a dedicated mentor, and a doctor. The mentor will meet and guide the graduate through the process and review any draft documents and will ensure that technical details are correct.
The doctor will offer separate advice and provide an independent review like that of a RTPI assessor. They will also ensure that both the graduate and their mentor are performing their roles effectively.
Marie-Ange explained: “When graduate planners first join us, they are automatically allocated a mentor and a doctor. They will meet with their doctor several times during the two-year period to ensure that formatting and competencies have been met in terms of their presentation. Even after they have qualified, we offer support to monitor continuous improvement.”
Abi Hicklin, based at our Ashby office, said: “I came to Fisher German following work experience when I was just sixteen, I then did summer placement’s each year until I started as a graduate. I was made to feel part of the team and given responsibilities right from the start; that’s what kept me coming back! I was able to go out to meet clients, whilst my peers at different firms were mainly photocopying and filing.
“I passed both my APC and my CAAV exams quickly and I am sure that was due to the level of support I received. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and my colleagues were very generous in letting me take up their time to help with revision. There was a big support network available which included line managers and peers.
“I now feel able to have my own clients as I know I have the continued support and knowledge of the team around me to lean on if I ever need it. My plan now that I have passed my APC is to take on more responsibility and I would now like to help and support others in their APC process.”