The RICS has issued clarifications on requirements for professional development and lifelong learning of which everybody needs to be aware

Well, 2009 is firmly upon us now and I hope all is going well with your APC training. In the past few weeks there have been a number of minor clarifications to key elements that are relevant to all APC candidates, whatever stage you are at in the APC process.

Clarification on professional development requirements

I am sure you are aware that professional development, for a graduate route one candidate, is 96 hours in two years (23 months) and where possible maintaining an equal balance of 48 hours across each year (see pages 14-15 in version two of the RICS APC candidate's guide, issued last December). If the equal balance cannot be achieved, then as long as the 96 hours is achieved within the two years that is acceptable.

Remember that all of the training durations in the RICS APC candidate's guide (such as the 23 months for graduate route 1) are minimums, and it is very feasible for a candidate to need to record more than the minimum due to personal circumstances and available experience. Should this happen, the general rule of thumb is to continue recording a minimum of four hours' professional development per month for every month (or part thereof) of competency experience submitted.

It is important to realise that the RICS' outlook on lifelong learning (LLL) - for trainees and chartered surveyors - is that it is about continuous improvement and continually maintaining competency. Therefore the same ethos needs to be applied to the APC process, and continuing professional development must be carefully addressed.

Please note that my advice is always to ensure you record more than 48 hours each year as this shows enthusiasm to get involved in your personal professional development and demonstrates your willingness to maintain this ethos once you are chartered (lifelong learning once chartered needs to follow the relevant RICS regulations on LLL).

Also, when developing your 48 hours per year, do note that you should be trying to demonstrate an equal spread across the three splits: personal, technical, professional. Full details of these can be found in the RICS APC candidate's guide on pages 14-15.

Clarification on lifelong learning

The second clarification recently came from RICS Regulation.

If you read RICS Business magazine, you will have seen in the recent February 2009 issue the three-page spread on lifelong learning (pages 26-28). This article provided a refresher on what counts as CPD, how to meet the requirements for recording and why CPD is a good idea.

In a nutshell, the rules of conduct and lifelong learning help sheet suggested that chartered surveyors should demonstrate a reasonable approach to LLL and should undertake sufficient LLL to maintain their professionalism. This tended to leave the whole issue open, and surveyors are a breed that often need parameters to work within. Interestingly, one of the main items addressed in this article is that there is now a general rule of thumb that chartered surveyors should try and achieve a minimum of 20 hours of LLL per year.

Don't forget that all chartered surveyors must ensure that LLL records are kept and regularly updated. RICS Regulation can review CPD records at any time but it is up to the individual how this information is documented.