The 12 month meeting marks the half way point in the APC process for graduate route one candidates. The remaining 12 months leading up to the final assessment are intense because in addition to gaining competency experience, candidates must also prepare their critical analysis and final assessment presentation and prepare to review their documentation and revise for the final assessment.
The 12-month meeting is an important milestone where candidates with their supervisor and counsellor review all of their final assessment documentation and experience to date and continue to plan the next 12 months in order to be ready in time for the final assessment.
I would expect to see the start of a discussion around the critical analysis in this meeting and this is need only be a preliminary discussion about potential projects and key issues. The 15 month meeting is where I would expect the candidate and supervisor to choose the project that will be taken forwards as the main focus for the critical analysis.
The 12-month meeting used to be called the interim assessment, but this was removed from the process (in the UK) in December 2008 and replaced with continuing recording, reviewing and assessment of the candidate’s competency, rather than just at the half way mark. The counsellor now takes part in the 12-month meeting and needs to play a proactive role in testing the candidate’s knowledge and ability in order to ensure that the continuing recording and the other elements will be achieved.
It is important for the candidate, supervisor and counsellor to maintain the momentum and commitment to reviewing the candidate’s progress, keeping the candidate focused on gaining the right experience so that at the end of the next 12 months they don’t defer their assessment or sit before they are ready and increase the likelihood of a referral.
DeLever has just produced the brand new timeline wallchart which has been updated to show the latest APC process in a overall picture. See www.delever.com/timeline for your free copy.
The candidate’s responsibilitiesCandidates should now be starting to focus on the final assessment. There is only a minimum of 11 months to submission of the final assessment documentation and 13 months to the final assessment interview. They should be providing up to date and relevant information regarding their competency achievement, professional development and experiences. It is vitally important that the supervisor and counsellor have a good grasp of the candidate’s ability as competency levels need to be reviewed and planned to be completed over the coming months. The candidate can help by making sure their final assessment documentation is readily available for review and continuing to submit the completed templates to the supervisor and counsellor a week in advance of the planned three monthly meetings. When recording experience (template six), relevant real-life examples should be recorded.
Candidates should be using version two of the new RICS final assessment documentation templates available at www.rics.org/apc, released in June 2009.
The supervisor’s responsibilitiesAt the 12 month milestone the supervisor needs to discuss with the counsellor how the candidate has been progressing since they last all met up. The supervisor should be reviewing and signing off competency levels that have been achieved since the last time they all met together. If the candidate is submitting their documentation to the supervisor and counsellor in good time they will be able to have a comprehensive and worthwhile discussion about progress and identify any skills gaps.
Supervisors should continue questioning the candidate on their recorded experiences and relate that to the depth of required competency. The APC requirements and competencies guide and relevant pathway guides are useful resources/benchmarks for this. Ultimately, the more the supervisor questions the candidate now the less stressed the candidate will be in the final assessment. Always focus on asking open ended questions, making sure the candidate explains themselves giving real-life examples and press them on why the examples they give are relevant. Avoid hypothetical questions as these lose focus from the declared competencies and experience which candidates will ultimately be questioned on at the final assessment.
The counsellor’s responsibilitiesThe counsellor’s role continues to be very important at this stage, as this is a good point in the proceedings to see how well the candidate is developing. Overall there is not much time left and the candidate needs to be focusing on the higher levels (level three) of competency. The counsellor also has an obligation to ensure that the candidate is up to date with the latest APC changes.
When reviewing the candidate’s progress with the supervisor it is important for the counsellor to review any current or future training needs or assess whether there is a requirement to refocus the candidate’s experience into areas of deficiency before it is too late. If a candidate is stuck in a specific role for business or commercial reasons then the APC training period has to be flexible and extend to allow the candidate time to move on to other roles to gain the necessary experience. The assessments are only every six months, so deferring the final assessment extends the APC training period by six months each time. However, it is much better for the candidate to defer a final assessment and be fully prepared than to sit too early and be referred.
If any party is unsure of the RICS timescales, why not download the free DeLever newsletter at www.delever.com/news which contains all of the RICS relevant critical dates and information on pages 2 and 3.
The 12-month meeting documentsMy six month meeting article gave a lot of detail regarding the new templates which may be worth reading again as I do not repeat that information here. It is vitally important that the templates are completed and regularly updated to provide a real picture of the candidate’s achievement to date.
Please note that RICS made some minor changes to the Final Assessment templates and uploaded version two onto the RICS website on 15th June 2009. RICS state that candidates already using version one need not upgrade to version two. I have done the copy and paste exercise from a version one to version two templates and it took me only about 30 minutes. I think that upgrading is worthwhile as the changes to version one were made in response to feedback from the assessors.
If you want to know the latest changes to the APC and specifically the latest changes to the templates see the DeLever APC Candidate Companion (version two) www.delever.com/companion
Reviewing competencyThe achievement record (template three) continues to be important at the 12-month meeting as it should be well populated and showing a good spread of competency experience. It is important to identify any competencies that seem deficient and build them into the plan for further development over the next few months. The experience record (template 6) should also be developing well with explanations of real-life examples.
It is imperative that the supervisor and counsellor work together in reviewing and testing the candidate’s achievements. This process should be taken seriously, making sure only competencies that have really been achieved and where the candidate can clearly demonstrate this achievement are signed off.
Rules of conductThe 12-month meeting is a good time to test the candidate’s knowledge of the rules of conduct and make sure they are aware of the latest changes. I have recently been delivering some mock interviews where candidates’ knowledge of the rules of conduct was poor. This is not a section to be ignored and anything supervisors and counsellors can do to assist candidates in the development of this knowledge is very important.
The end of the meeting
The end of the meeting comes when everything has been discussed and the twelve month meeting report has been drafted. Ultimately, the 12 month meeting should:
- Ensure that the candidate’s documentation is up to date
- Be an opportunity to test the candidate on their competency experience to date
- Ensure that the relevant competency and levels are signed off and a programme agreed for further development of level two and three competencies
- Be an opportunity to review the documentation and highlight any skills gaps. A plan should be produced for the continuing recording of competency experience. Everyone involved in the APC process needs to remain focused on the task ahead, making sure everything is kept up to date and progressed
- Enable the candidate to be in a position to start to developing the critical analysis.
- Look out for the APC Candidate Companion by DeLever for help with the changes to the RICS templates, see www.delever.com/companion
- Get involved with the RICS at www.rics.org/matrics
- If any party is unsure of the RICS timescales, why not download the free DeLever newsletter at www.delever.com/news which contains all of the RICS relevant critical dates and information on pages 2 and 3
- DeLever has just produced the brand new timeline wallchart which has been updated to show the latest APC process in a picture format. See www.delever.com/timeline for your free copy.
Jon Lever is managing director of DeLever, APC chairman of assessors, RICS training adviser and RICS-licensed assessor trainer. Look out for his guidance on what to do in the lead up to the final assessment every month at www.building.co.uk. DeLever's website is www.delever.com