Locked learning


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Elizabeth Taylor is a commercial surveyor graduate with hired surveyors Carter Jonas, Covid-19 has caused the same level of disruption in the surveying sector as it has in most other sectors, and some companies have felt it more than others. I feel very fortunate to have only experienced a disruption of my training – it could have been a lot worse. There are several ways to become a Legal Surveyor, the career path I started in September 2018. The most popular route, and the route I chose, is from undergraduate or entry level. Candidates must undertake 24 months of structured training prior to participating in the Professional Competency Assessment (APC) in one of two windows annually, Spring or Fall. I hope to be sitting at APC either in May or November 2021, but it’s important to feel prepared, so I haven’t decided yet. This article was first published in the December / January 2021 issue of The Construction Index. Register online. The APC testing process can be thought of as a two-step process. The first involves submitting a document to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that essentially explains my experience and justifies how I achieved the proficiency levels required for admission to RICS. Interns should also provide a case study of the instruction they led in which they provided advice and guidance to the client. During the internship period, I will also have completed 48 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which should be documented and included as part of my thesis. The second step is a one-hour interview in which candidates are examined and questioned about their knowledge of the practical and ethical elements required for a certified surveyor role. Candidates begin the assessment by submitting their case study and then undergo a 10-minute period of questioning from the panel. Candidates are then questioned regarding their presentation and knowledge of the legislation and RICS standards employed by the certified surveyors. Finally, the candidates’ understanding of the RICS Code of Ethics is examined. As with any profession, the training and study required for success is rigorous and highly demanding. But due to Covid-19, I was on vacation for four months from April to August. Although this was worrying at first, I quickly understood my employer’s strategy and took the long view, and ultimately I was pleased with the decision. The four months provided a good opportunity to do some review and consolidate what I have learned so far, although I felt that there was still a long way to go and that my outstanding knowledge could only be gained through actual work experience. Some of my fellow alumni have felt the same, and the Covid-19 virus meant some of us would delay APCs due to lost time from our 24-month schedules. This situation clearly occurs in many practices and is not limited to Carter Jonas. While this is inconvenient, there is nothing I can do about it other than hope that this short-lived turmoil will prove to be a small obstacle on the road to what I hope will be a long career. Like many other jobs, surveyors have largely adapted well to working from home, and in some ways I feel that team collaboration has increased. Most of the teams in our business make a video call every day and have introduced WhatsApp groups that keep us in touch. CPD has also been successfully transferred over the Internet. Before Covid, I was attending about two lectures per month at the University of Westminster; RICS has rolled this online with great success – in fact, it looks like there are more sessions available than ever before. I use a number of desktop apps to keep in touch with my colleagues and these apps have replaced office chatting and routine personal interactions with my colleagues and mentors. As a graduate, there is a lot to be said for learning in an office environment. We are trained by our senior colleagues in everything from report writing skills to email and phone etiquette – things that cannot be easily learned from home. I think accommodating the 2020 graduates and interns – into any industry – will be difficult if they are denied this interaction with older and experienced colleagues. For me, my training disruption due to Covid-19 has delayed my APC assessment by at least six months, which is a pity since I qualified once, my potential earnings have increased. But I still have a job. Those in other sectors were not so lucky. Personally, I am relieved that RICS has announced that APC assessments will henceforth be done online via video call. RICS used to screen candidates in the assessment center and waiting to go to the exam room seemed more nerve-wracking than the actual interview! Graduates will now be able to focus on their exams, which they can take from anywhere they feel comfortable and without the added stress of travel and an unfamiliar environment. For me, this is definitely a feature that could take much longer to materialize without us shifting towards remote work. This article was first published in the December / January 2021 issue of The Construction Index. Register online. Do you have a story? Email [email protected]


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