My #APCjourney

Keshiv Prabhakar
With a five-year average pass rate of 80%, well above the RICS national equivalent, Faithful+Gould offers a high level of support and encouragement to its APC candidates.

Our dedicated candidates are finding increasingly innovative ways of engaging with the certification requirements. Recently-qualified quantity surveyor Kesh Prabhakar describes his experience.

Faithful+Gould takes the APC very seriously and backs this up with a structured training programme. The APC is very hard work but we are supported with study packs, study sessions, in-house discussion groups, mock interviews and a well-used intranet community. All the tools are in place and it’s well worth making full use of these.

I’m based in Faithful+Gould’s Tunbridge Wells office and my internal APC cohort were in various offices in the London & South East region. We became a close-knit group despite being on different pathways – quantity surveyors, building surveyors and project managers. The camaraderie really helped. Cohorts vary and I know that not every group will gel as much as we did, or be able to meet as often in person. But I’d really recommend that candidates contribute as much as possible to their group – that way, you get the most out of it.

My group were motivated to meet up as often as possible, aiming for twice during the week and once at weekends. We didn’t all make every meeting so it was important to find additional ways of maintaining momentum and encouraging each other to study effectively.

For APC study, we found Twitter especially effective. We fired questions and answers back and forth, using the hashtag #APCCrew.

Social media is constructively used at Faithful+Gould, as a key element of our external and internal communications strategy. For APC study, we found Twitter especially effective for the huge volume of Level 1 facts to be memorised. We fired questions and answers back and forth, using the hashtag #APCCrew.

Restricting an answer to 140 characters certainly focuses the mind. What we didn’t expect was that qualified colleagues would join in the process! It was great as it led to a wider pool of knowledge and some interesting – and efficiently brief – exchanges. Emoticons added a light hearted touch and the fact-packed Tweets became quite a highlight of the day!

For me, the APC programme wasn’t just about passing – though obviously that was the visible goal. It was also about the broader experience. The networking aspect was an unexpected bonus. I got to know colleagues that I might not otherwise have met and I also got a great insight into the other APC disciplines. My group had different competencies, strengths and weaknesses and we learned a lot from each other. I wasn’t so good at construction technology, for instance, but luckily others were. This set the scene for the ongoing peer support encouraged at Faithful+Gould, where sharing strengths is very much valued throughout the business.

Having passed my APC I wanted to give something back and encourage others who are in the early stages of their career. I helped with the annual Atkins graduate induction event, facilitating a team building exercise and manning the Faithful+Gould stand. I’m the inaugural Chairman of the CIOB Kent Novus group, which interacts with young professionals with relevant and topical CPD seminars, networking opportunities and social events. I have also given a careers presentation to local schools which led to me organising a very successful work experience placement at my local office.

Why not contact me - I'd like to hear about your #APCjourney!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience of meandering and navigating round the many trials and tribulations of trying to gain professional membership. The journey is not easy and interacting with your cohort will definitely reap benefits. I have gained some great personal relationships and this was down to the effort we all made to study together. Using social media allowed us to stay in contact more easily and became a great revision tool. I truly believe in investing into the future and am now trying to assist the next batch of candidates and would recommend that others do so too, even if it's just to make sure you haven’t forgotten everything you learnt!!