Mark Spratley MRICS moved to Vancouver, BC from London two and half years ago and promptly became active with the local network of qualified professionals. Before the pandemic limited in-person meetings, he met regularly with candidates at events focused on different competencies. But the pandemic put an end to in-person gatherings. Mark, along with other qualified professionals in BC, had to come up with a new solution to provide the same kind of networking and mentoring in a digital setting.
The first digital APC study group was held in November. “We came up with the idea of changing the approach to how we support candidates in BC prepare for the APC process,” says Mark. “We decided to set up a working study group for all candidates and prospective candidates no matter how where they were in the process.”
Candidates were invited to join an open forum with professionals who have first-hand experience with the APC process, many of whom are training to be counsellors. RICS staff members are on hand to answer questions as well.
“We all work in the real estate industry in Vancouver and can provide a broad network of contacts to candidates who might need help in making APC or employment-related connections,” Mark explains. While the ultimate goal is to support candidates, he hopes the group encourages more participation in local events and grows the network of qualified professionals in BC.
The first digital study group was a small one – attended by candidates who were in the final stages of preparing their submission and by some who had not even begun the process. The format was casual, welcoming each attendee to share their experiences and ask questions.
My RICS qualification not only helped me get a job in Canada from a professional qualification standpoint but I was also introduced to my current employer through another RICS member who I met at an RICS networking event.
Candidates asked about setting up mock interviews, how to write up competencies and other questions about the APC process. “As a group, we were able to talk about each of these matters and provide an answer or recommend specific events they could attend. We identified some areas to focus on in the future sessions and will be aiming to host another event in December.”
Candidates in the UK have access to structured training and support groups due to the large numbers of candidates and qualified professionals in the region but there’s no reason candidates in other regions should go it alone. RICS has a network of professionals willing to provide support and answer questions through webinars, informal study groups, digital networks like Yammer or formal learning. RICS is looking to launch similar study groups in other cities around the world. (To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“Being RICS qualified has hugely influenced my career and having a global accreditation was important in me getting international employment. My RICS qualification not only helped me get a job in Canada from a professional qualification standpoint but I was also introduced to my current employer through another RICS member who I met at an RICS networking event.”
Being a local brand ambassador for RICS is just one way Mark is paying it forward.