After 20-plus years in Facilities Management and estates, I recently finally got round to applying and - being accepted - for full membership of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on the Facilities Management Pathway. So it's with a mixture of relief, embarrassment and yes some pride, that I accepted Sherin’s invitation to write this blog about the benefits of joining.
I first registered for assessment through Graduate Route Three about four or five years ago. But I delayed at some length after I found out (in a Jon Lever workshop) that about 60% of candidates fail at their first attempt.
What eventually encouraged me to “go for it” was the creation of the Professional Experience Route (PER), as I felt it let me draw more on my experiences. I could also use practical examples in my application to cover the required wide range of competencies.
At the same time I was “gently” and encouraged by Alex Morley, a considerably younger MRICS-qualified member of our team, to apply for formal recognition of my skills and experience. Alex is also mentoring some of the team through the AssocRICS membership route at present having overseen 3 successful applications to date. So my thanks to Alex.
How would they regard my application? What would they ask me at my formal APC interview? What weaknesses would they identify? Could I show the right mix and level of competencies to levels one, two and three? Would the case study hit the spot? All these questions went through my mind at different points in the process.
But there was an advantage to the PER route that helped: I had to send my application for preliminary review. Although this took me about 40 hours to complete, check, double check, and get checked by Alex, the feedback gave me the confidence to submit my final application.
Despite all my experience I found the one hour interview tough. I didn’t have the chance to dry up, with about 60 questions fired across the table at me, but I couldn’t escape the increasing feeling it wasn't going well. I seriously wondered if I’d done enough to pass.
At last! A week after my interview I found out I had been accepted as a Chartered Facilities Management Surveyor in RICS. This was quickly followed by many congratulations in the office, as well as some good natured mickey taking.
I mention this as some people have asked me whether the MRICS qualification would lead to more pay? The answer, at least in the short term, is "no".
I can honestly say that my motivation for doing this was to get formal recognition and respect as a Professional Chartered Surveyor.
The issue of pay is complicated, linked to market based factors, which this blog will not attempt to explain or consider further.
Having waited so long to complete my qualification, I am more than happy to share my experiences. Particularly if you, like me, worry about the commitment it might take to “make the grade”, or perhaps suffer an unspoken fear of failure and the potential embarrassment which goes with that. So please drop me an email if you would like to know more or even discuss what it is you wish to do. I will help in any way I reasonably can.
The penultimate question I was asked by the chairman of my interview panel was “what do you believe about lifelong learning?” I paused for a second and then mischievously looked at him and replied “it will not have escaped your notice that I am slightly longer in the tooth than your average candidate. I hope that at least gives an sign I am committed to lifelong learning”.
So don’t let age be a barrier to you either, and all the best in your endeavours to continually improve your professional skills and services. Go for it!