Global Insight


The Linesight approach to the APC

07 November 2017

Chris McCarry is a Cost Manager on Linesight’s Infrastructure team in Dublin. Having secured his Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), he offers advice to those setting out on the same path.

In order to advance my career development, I was keen to enroll for the APC at the earliest opportunity. The APC is an important milestone in any Cost Manager’s career. As a qualified member of the SCSI/RICS, you will join a group of elite professionals and open up significant career development opportunities.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Strengthening your CV with a recognized, world-class professional qualification
  • Validating your exceptional technical and ethical standards to clients and peers
  • Connecting with other high-caliber professionals
  • Benefitting from SCSI/RICS career development resources
  • Increasing your earning potential

I would strongly recommend enrolling for the APC at the earliest possible opportunity in your career, because it opens up opportunities and as you get older, it can become more difficult with increased responsibilities both in and out of the office.

At Linesight, the APC approach and structure is very well-organized. You are assigned a Supervisor and Counsellor from the outset, and the help and support you receive throughout the APC process is invaluable. I successfully completed the APC Route 1, which involved keeping a diary for two years and logging days to competencies chosen. There are important landmarks along the two-year path, such as achieving and recording CPD requirements, completing your interim assessment, recording your diary/log planner and identifying a suitable project for your critical analysis. It is all about progressing to the final assessment and preparing for your final interview. The below graph summarizes the APC milestones and program. 

Ultimately, the APC is a challenging process, regardless of the route that you take. It makes it slightly easier to have a few people in the office working towards it at the same time, as you can ask one another complex questions on various study topics and practice your presentation. Luckily I wasn’t the only candidate enrolled for the APC from the office at the time, as tends to be the case in Linesight, given the number of employees enrolling each year. It was important to organize a study group to bounce questions off one another and study in a group environment. I spent a considerable amount of study time with fellow candidates, reviewing the SCSI APC guidance documents, to make sure that we were on track in preparing for the final interview.

Linesight has a framework which draws upon the wealth of expertise within the company, through internally-delivered lunchtime presentations, from both staff and guest speakers, to provide staff with valuable CPD hours. It was important to achieve the mandatory CPD requirements (96 hours) over the two years, and the lunchtime talks covered many topical issues, such as Brexit and amendments to the Public Works form of Contract.

The final assessment is an hour-long interview, including a 10-minute presentation on your critical analysis. As you would expect, there are plenty of questions on your level 1, 2 and 3 competencies and the project you studied. The competencies are a mix of interpersonal, business and technical skills.

I found the internal mock interviews particularly beneficial in preparing me for the real thing. I was asked some similar questions with particular reference to my critical analysis, so I knew how to respond providing reasoned advice and depth of technical knowledge in my answer. The formats of the mock interviews are exactly the same as the real thing, and the feedback from my interview panels clearly outlined both my strengths and weaknesses.

I passed on my first attempt, and it is an undeniably great feeling to successfully complete the APC and advance on to the next level of your career.

 

Key tips for achieving your APC:

  • Be resourceful and look to people who might be able to help. I got support and guidance from a number of senior colleagues.
  • Attend presentations and workshops when you can, because they are an easy way of building up your CPD hours, and are usually on popular study topics for your final interview.
  • You can easily contact the SCSI directly if you need any information relating to the APC procedure; remember you are a fee-paying member.
  • Read the APC candidate guidelines and choose your critical analysis carefully.  For example, I chose a project which I was involved in from initial design to agreeing the final account. This gave me an in-depth knowledge of what I was presenting, making it much easier, as I was confident highlighting the key issues to the Chairman and interview panel.
  • On the interview day, if you refer to specific areas or topics in your answers, remember that you’re inviting questions on those topics, so be prepared. I would advise candidates to structure your responses to influence the panel with potential lines of questioning.
  • Consider using alternative resources to gain CPD, e.g. journals, SCSI/RICS online seminars and webinars, and the weekly SCSI Property & Construction e-zine which covers news items from the previous week.
  • Set yourself a study plan on a timeline, so that you can achieve your deadlines at the dates set. This will prepare you well for the final assessment and interview.