Moving out of my comfort zone
Originally from New Zealand, Asha Rhodes started her career at 19 initially working at a valuation practise whilst at university. Upon graduation Asha worked as a project manager before making the move to the UK in 2017.
Asha notes she always had the ambition to complete the APC but it wasn’t until moving to the UK that she was in the position to commit to the programme.
She was even more motivated in London as believes having MRICS status is more recognised here as the best in the business and is a tangible display of competence.
She acknowledges the APC forced her out of her comfort zone. It not only required her to face her weaknesses through the gap analysis, it also encouraged her to “take her head above the parapet” and review the industry as a whole. This is a perspective often forgotten when working project to project.
Asha pays homage to her counsellor, colleagues, friends and family who dedicated a lot of time to support her through the programme and were instrumental in her success. She notes the APC was a great way to interact with different people and, by default, extended her network.
Since passing the APC Asha has more conviction in her day to day duties. She has an overall sense of pride having completed what she notes as one of the most challenging experiences of her career thus far.
Asha completed the 12-month experienced project management pathway and recommends pursuing the APC to everyone as a way to further their knowledge, gain recognition, extend their network, and obtain a sense of accomplishment.
I had completed the PMP course in New Zealand and this enabled me to progress a lot faster in my role as was a clear confirmation of my abilities. I felt the APC was a similar stepping stone.
Having moved to the London with some awareness of UK regulation, the APC was a way to sharpen up existing skills and fill any gaps in my knowledge.
The property industry has been traditionally male dominated and it is encouraging to see more females in all aspects of the profession.
I have been fortunate enough to work for companies which have had a strong female presence. I believe seeing women in leadership roles is especially important as this signifies to me, as a young woman, that progression in the company/industry is possible.
If I look at the disconnect between the proportion of women entering the industry and those in senior roles, it signals there is still work to be done at all levels. I look forward to being involved in whatever way possible to progress gender diversity in the property industry.
Initially working from home was ideal. There were no social distractions which made studying a lot more palatable.
Closer to the exam, however, it was really intense. We had been in lockdown for three months and not being able to turn to my usual vices to relax had a compounding effect.
It was also pretty rough on my flatmates who would never say it - but probably didn’t love hearing me vent about the syllabus.
Overall, I thought the switch to a digital exam was beneficial. I could study and have mocks in the same location so I was under “exam conditions” often which helped me to be as prepared as possible.
Having an online exam meant that I didn’t need to worry about travelling to Heathrow and the added anxiety of finding the room etc.
Scheduling Q&A/mocks was also easier and I found myself following a rigorous training programme for the months leading up to the assessment.
Don’t give up. I often say that, as a woman, I doubt I could have got my current role 20 years ago and the industry is moving in the right direction.
If you feel there are gaps in your knowledge, try fill them. There are a lot of resources and courses available to upskill (eg: APC/MRICS). Online learning is more available and flexible than ever - now is a great time to look into it.
There are also women in property networks, seminars and events, get involved in as many as you can and choose which you want to pursue.
Ultimately, I believe companies are increasingly looking for diligent, ambitious young women so now is a great time to be in the industry.
Whilst studying for the APC I was drawn to the sustainability competency. I am proud to be working on a project that is proactively pursuing sustainable innovations in construction and hope to work with more Clients that value whole of life principles.
I believe now having passed the APC I am well positioned to pursue duties/roles with more responsibility and am excited about my future as a property professional.
More information about types of RICS membership
Associate Member is available on completion of the associate qualification. You can enrol at any time in your career but must meet one of the following before applying for assessment:
Chartered Member is available on completion of the chartered qualification. You can enrol at any time in your career but must meet one of the following before applying for assessment: