The Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) is a major milestone for those in the built environment. Not only is it a big achievement, but it helps you gain a competitive advantage in the industry for upholding the standards of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

With the latest round of candidates anxiously awaiting their results, we spoke to APC supervisor, and recently chartered, Shan Viramgama and new graduate Lisa Maria Piacquadio to understand what goes into the process.

What is involved in the APC process?

Lisa: As a new graduate to Hollis this year, I was excited to begin my APC enrolment after my induction and the opportunity to settle in.

Graduates and Apprentices at Hollis are placed onto a 24-month structured programme, in which they complete 400 days of work diary entries that highlight several competencies met at three levels (knowledge, doing and providing advice). Other elements of work include a summary of experience dedicated to the mandatory and technical competencies (1,500 and 4000 words respectively), alongside a 3000-word case study based on an instruction highlighting two key issues.

After a minimum of two years of training and experience, your capability is then assessed on the big day, the final assessment. The one-hour interview includes a 10-minute presentation on your case study, followed by a 10-minute Q&A on this presentation, 30 minutes on your summary of experience and 10 minutes on ethics, rules of conduct and professionalism.

What seemed initially daunting, has since been a smooth process thanks to the support provided by my supervisor and counsellor. Now to work hard, and complete my journey to chartership!

What support do Hollis provide for employees undertaking their APC?

Shan: Undertaking your APC is not something Hollis take lightly, and the support provided is pretty much endless. We will always point candidates in the right direction, whilst allowing them the academic freedom to use research and own knowledge to find conclusions. And this is on top of the formal procedures Hollis have put in place too.

We run a compulsory internal presentation programme, which helps candidates gain both experience and confidence in presenting and Q&A skills all whilst developing level one, their knowledge. Counting as CPD, it is also a great way for candidates listening to increase their knowledge and add to their required CPD.

Hollis is one team, and this is no different when it comes to a candidate’s APC. We are all there to support candidates, whether that be for further on-site experience, additional mock interviews or even just answering any questions they may have.

How important is the role of an APC mentor?

Shan: APC supervisors and counsellors play a critical part in the development of each candidate; it is their job to guide the candidate through from enrolment to becoming chartered. Doing so requires not only a deep understanding of the process, but also how to explain the core principles to each candidate. Understanding how to become a chartered surveyor, means understanding what the assessor is looking for and this is where a mentor’s role is so important.

Having said this, it is the candidate’s responsibility to prepare and engage with the process. Mentors play a vital role, but without the engagement of the candidate, they will never successfully pass their APC.

I also see a true personal benefit to becoming a supervisor. It is a completely rewarding process to help someone succeed at the beginning of their career. Having recently passed the APC myself, I know the benefit my counsellor and supervisor brought me, and I want to play that part for someone else.

What are your top tips for someone going through the APC process?

Shan: It’s worth reiterating that your supervisors and counsellors really are there to help you. Having open and honest communication in your progress meetings allows you to iron out any concerns and gain the advice that will truly benefit you.

My other top tip would be to dedicate time and effort to the process. For example, the minimum required CPD hours is 96, does that mean you should aim for 96? Go above and beyond; push yourself to succeed and you will.

Lisa: I have really noticed that what you put in, is what you will get out. Your progress is your responsibility, and your mentors are willing to put in the time if you are, so I would say, commit to the process, dedicate your time, and smash it!

At Hollis, we understand the hard work and determination which goes into the journey to chartership. Congratulations to all those who have passed the APC and good luck to our candidates awaiting their results.

Further information and guidance on the APC can be found on the RICS website.