It may seem just moments since the three-month meeting, but in the review coming up candidates will have to prove they are on track. So make sure your papers are in order!
The six-month review meeting is already upon us and it is important to realise that a quarter of the minimum training period (graduate route 1) has passed!
You should be aware that the interim and final reporting stages were recently removed from the process in line with the new ethos which focuses on a more structured delivery of the three monthly meetings. If you have missed or are unsure of the latest RICS APC changes, see the online monthly articles I have written for Building at www.building.co.uk or visit www.delever.com/companion.
The six-month review is the first time the counsellor is formally involved with the supervisor and candidate in reviewing progress. The counsellor’s timely involvement is very important as competency levels begin to be achieved and signed off; they play an important role in testing and agreeing the competency achievement with the supervisor.
Since the last formal meeting the regular communication between candidate and their mentors should have continued and any action points identified at the three-month meeting achieved and made available for discussion at this point.
It is important for all parties involved to realise what is expected of them in the APC process. Let us consider each person:
The candidate should now be providing the relevant information to assist the supervisor and counsellor in making an informed decision on the level and status of the candidate’s progress to date. The candidate should now be completing the new RICS Final Assessment Documentation Templates available at www.rics.org/apc. I suggest submitting this information to the supervisor and counsellor a week in advance of the planned meeting to demonstrate what has been achieved for each competency. Ensure when recording experience (Template 6), relevant real-life examples are recorded.
The supervisor role is in an extremely important and challenging part of the APC process. They will now have much more information available to them to make a fair review and judgement of the candidate’s progress and competency achievement.
The counsellor’s basic role is not much different to that of the supervisor; however, the counsellor must be chartered and has the added responsibility of affirming everything the supervisor has approved thus far. If the supervisor is not chartered then the counsellor has a much more fundamental role, individually ensuring the RICS’ requirements are properly considered and met.
The supervisor and counsellor need to challenge the candidate and be objective, testing and querying the candidate’s competency, knowledge and experience. When it comes to signing off competencies I believe the supervisor and counsellor are putting their professionalism on the line by confirming that the candidate has taken on board the projects, processes and tasks to demonstrate competency.
The six-month meeting documents
The new RICS Final Assessment Document Templates are now the only way to deliver the documentation to the Final Assessment panel and the templates lend themselves to positive on-going recording. The documents demonstrate the importance of continuous monitoring and achievement of a balanced range of experience across the declared competencies. The new templates facilitate a much quicker appreciation of competency achievement which can only be of benefit to the supervisor and counsellor should be keen to manage the sign-off of the competency levels over time.
Diary and logbook: Continue to provide concise and accurate descriptions of the experience being achieved and write your diary up weekly. If not, time will pass quickly and you will end up with a huge, laborious task of writing up weeks and weeks of diary.
Six months into the process is often a good point to see if the time being allocated to the APC process is sufficient or if early warnings of deficiencies are becoming apparent.
Professional development: Make sure you are planning your PD effectively; by now you should have achieved approximately 24 hours worth of PD. Within the new templates, you are required to provide more information about the PD you are undertaking and include your reasoning, aims, objectives and outcomes of the learning gained.
Final Assessment documentation: We have already mentioned the new RICS documentation a number of times in this article. It is important to ensure you fully appreciate the importance of this paperwork and ensuring your documentation is up to date.
Template 3 takes on a very important role in the six-month meeting as this is the first time the counsellor is formally available to sign off the competency levels that have been achieved and agreed by the supervisor.
It is always important to realise that competency achievement is not a tick box exercise. Supervisors and counsellors are required to undertake this process very seriously, only signing off the candidate if "real life" experience and evidence can be demonstrated.
In addition, the counsellor’s role is to investigate and probe into the depth of the knowledge and experience that the candidate has had and make a careful judgement of the candidate’s competency.
Whilst I am not suggesting you start writing this yet (I generally advise starting this from month 15 onwards) I do strongly suggest you pick up the APC Candidate guide (page 17) and read about what is required of the Critical Analysis. It is always worth knowing what is expected so you can plan and gather relevant information along the way.
The final flag
The end of the meeting comes when everything has been discussed and the six-month meeting report has been drafted. Ultimately, the six month meeting should deliver the following:
- The candidate documentation is up to date
- The candidate has been probed and tested on competency experience to date
- The relevant competency and levels are signed off (I would expect to see level 1s completed and a good start on level 2s)
- The documentation has been reviewed and any skills gaps highlighted to ensure a plan has been produced for the ongoing recording of competency experience.
As before, everyone involved in the APC process needs to remain focused on the task ahead, making sure everything is kept up to date and progressed.
Look out for the APC Candidate Companion by DeLever, see www.delever.com/companion. Get involved with the RICS at www.rics.org/matrics
Jon Lever is managing director of DeLever, APC chairman of assessors, RICS training adviser and RICS-licensed assessor trainer.