Kevin Gardiner is a 27-year-old Cost Manager working with Linesight in Dubai, where he has been based for the past three years. Having just secured his Assessment of Professional Competence (APC)* he offers some advice for fellow surveyors setting out on the same path.
'I think it might be slightly easier if you have a few people in the office working towards it at same time. You can bounce ideas off each other and ask for advice.'
'I joined Linesight as a graduate in 2011 just as the industry resumed recruiting again after the recession. I was 18 months working on projects in Dublin when my Director offered me a job in our Dubai office. It was a great, if daunting, opportunity that three years on has worked out really well for me.
The move meant that securing my APC involved transferring from the SCSI to RICS, the professional body covering the Middles East. To be honest, we were so busy that first year in Dubai I didn’t pursue the APC but once things settled down I decided to push hard for it.
Passing your APC is a challenging process no matter where you are based. I think it might be slightly easier if you have a few people in the office working towards it at same time. You can bounce ideas off each other and ask for advice.
Over here I was the only one studying in the office so I spent a lot of time in contact with the RICS and reviewing the RICS APC guides, making sure I was on the right track.
I took the two-year graduate route, which is for people with less than five years’ work experience. It’s best to do it as early as you can in your career, as you get older it becomes more difficult with increased responsibilities both in and out of the office.
There are important landmarks along the two-year path such as achieving your CPD requirements, submitting your self-assessment log planner and identifying a suitable case study. It’s all about progressing to the final assessment and presentation of your chosen case study.
Along the way you can ask for advice from your counsellor, usually a senior member of staff in the office. Ciaran McCormack, now a Director here in Dubai, was my counsellor.
The final assessment is a one hour interview including the presentation of your case study. As you would expect, there were plenty of questions about the project, like how you tackled certain problems and why. I was questioned about possible solutions which were not identified in my case study, so I had to think on my feet.
One major difference between the final assessment in Ireland and the UAE is the cultural aspect. In Ireland you will probably have three fluent English speaking assessors, in the UAE you could have assessors from anywhere in the world to who do not speak English as their native language. This can create a challenge and be a bit more intimidating for a candidate. My chairman was Scottish and was familiar with Linesight from working on a project in London. I was immediately put at ease with a quick chat before starting my presentation.
I passed first time. It’s great to have it completed, for certain to advance on to the next level of your career you need to have your chartership status in today’s competitive industry.
*The APC is comprised of a set list of skills — or competencies — set out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). In order to become Chartered, a candidate must attain these competencies to the required level. The competencies are a mix of interpersonal, business and technical skills. When moving overseas quantity surveyors will usually apply for their APC through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).