The John Rowan and Partners APC Club

The latest Construction Skills Network Forecasts 2016 – 2020 report estimates that in order for UK consultancy firms to meet the industry’s projected demand for 2020, the annual recruitment for surveyors will need to increase from 70,740 to 75,530 by 2020.

With the sector already in a skills shortage, these figures highlight the importance of not only encouraging more young people into surveying but the need to support post graduates in achieving their RICS accreditation to set them firmly on their career paths.

John Rowan and Partners is looking at ways to improve the number of chartered surveyors within their construction consultancy business. The company has created a new training forum to utilize the experience of senior partners in order to help their newest members of staff achieve accreditation. Known as the John Rowan and Partners’ APC Club, candidates are supported through the process as a team by the company’s three accredited assessors and 27 MRICS accredited members of staff.

How does it work?
The process works by each candidate being allocated an assessor and supervisor, they undertake monthly meetings with both, in order to track progress and ensure they are provided with all the help and support they need. In addition to this, bespoke in-house training sessions are run monthly by both internal and external experts in the field. The company funds all the required training, travel, resources, and a weeks’ dedicated study leave for every individual.

“The opportunity for us as a business was to improve the number of RICS Chartered Surveyors, like any consultancy having the best people is key to us being able to deliver the best results for our clients.”

To help everyone involved in the APC Club, students and mentors are matched according to ‘fit’ including learning style, experience and skills. Nearer to application time, the assessor and supervisor review application papers ahead of their submission.

Athma Sarma, Partner and mentor commented: “To get the candidates used to the APC process we have a dedicated team of internal chartered surveyors closely supporting the candidates. To get them ready for final assessment we run mock interviews with the company Board and we use an external coach to help develop both presentation and interviewing skills with the candidates. We’ve found that this type of one on one coaching really helps them to get a broad review and prepare them for the APC process.

“Now in its fifth year, the process has proven to be a success with an increased pass rate from 65% in 2015 to 100% in 2019 so far.”

Kim Reid, now an associate partner, has been through the process and commented on the benefits of the club: “For candidates going through the APC process the Club really brings out the best in everyone. It encourages theoretical knowledge sharing and acts as a sounding board for sharing tips, coaching and any challenges people are finding.

“The process really helps you to develop your ability to talk confidently around your understanding of the relevant subjects. For me passing the RICS chartership is a great career achievement and I think there is great value to being part of such a highly respected professional body and the opportunities that come with it.”

Continuous learning – and a little celebration!
Post final assessment, the APC Club review meetings then bring everyone together to share what they learnt, generate ideas for the next round, and ensure that the right support is available at the right time.

Recently chartered James Roche (Building Surveyor) commented on achieving chartership: “I feel that passing the APC has been a greater academic achievement than graduating from my degree course due to the professional recognition of an institution. I’m very pleased to say that with the help of the APC club I passed first time and have been rewarded with a promotion and pay rise. I am now going full circle with the process as I have become an APC supervisor for the new graduates joining the APC Club. I work with the latest candidates to review documents prior to submission and observe and feedback on the mock interviews.”

The assessment itself is fully funded, and a big celebration follows each round of success, including lunch with the Managing Partner to discuss their future career direction and the support the business can give. Training and development support includes 360-degree feedback and an impressive £3k per annum pay rise. The APC success also gains additional points in the business grading structure and can lead to further promotion.

Continuous learning – and a little celebration!