Since I got myself qualified with the RICS back in 1995 I have been involved in helping people to attain a relevant professional qualification. This has been both providing support through the RICS APC Mentor Scheme and through supporting my Employers’ trainees. Like most people, for many years this has been on top of my day job as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor.
During that time, I have had an interesting engagement with both trainees and employers as to why we are trying to get people professionally qualified? The responses to this have been both mixed and sometimes not very clear.
Common responses from trainees include “it’s something that I am being made to do” or “it’s something that I need to get out of the way”. From Employers their response is often linked to “people won’t get promoted unless they are qualified” or “we do that qualification because it is easier”.
My initial response to this question, and to what we are trying to achieve, remains the same:
- We are taking on people who have undertaken (or who are undertaking) an academic qualification – they broadly know the theory.
- They now need to go through a period of structured experience and learning to help them put that theory into practice.
- At the end of this structured period, we need to undertake some sort of review or assessment to assure ourselves that these trainees have achieved our required level of minimum competence.
A relevant professional qualification therefore provides an ideal structure for both the Trainee and the Employer.
For the Trainee it:
- Provides them with guidance and a structure to the necessary acquired experience and knowledge that they need to achieve.
- It also gives them the defined way that they are going to be assessed as being “competent” at the end of this structured experience.
For the Employer it:
- Provides the skeleton of a training programme against which they can flesh out or add their own training requirements to.
- It is about developing their own talent by helping them to develop people with transferrable skills and experience.
- It provides an industry recognised way of getting their trainees assessed (as opposed to giving trainees their own internal sign off certification).
- Finally, it provides a qualification that externally recognises the standard of the training scheme that the Employer has in place (by their pass or success rate).
For me, any Trainee or Employer who approaches getting qualified as a box ticking exercise is potentially missing out on the benefits that this provides for both. Some of issues that I continue to come across include:
- Some Trainees who do not see beyond trying to do the bare minimum to get professionally qualified and who do not see the benefit of developing a broad base of knowledge, understanding and even experience.
- Some Employers who miss out on the opportunity to build a really strong training / development programme off the back of a professional qualification. Remember, these are minimum standards and competencies in a professional qualification, but there is nothing to stop Employers expanding on these to suit their business needs.
- Some Employers who do not see the opportunity to continue to develop their staff post qualification.
From a personal perspective, my journey to attaining MRICS gave me a great focus for my early professional development. It made me realise what I did not know or, in some cases, what I had forgotten! It also made me look outside of the requirements of what my current projects were needing me to do and started to help me to be prepared for other types of work / projects in the future. In short, it was helping me to develop my transferrable skills.
As an Employer over the years this professional qualification process has provided several insights:
- It has been ideal at highlighting those Trainees who are going to be the next rising stars.
- In some cases, it has highlighted those Trainees that may need a little extra help.
- Very occasionally, it has highlighted those that may not be cut out for the role.
- It has also been useful in identifying those managers who are really supporting the development of talent and those who are actively engaged in Knowledge Transfer.
- It has also highlighted those managers who themselves may need additional support and training to improve their effectiveness in supporting talent development.
So, do we want to get people professionally qualified?
Surely the answer must be “yes”. After all, if I were a Client, I would be hesitant about hiring people who were not qualified. Or, putting it another way, how many of you would embark on a taxi journey knowing that the driver was self-taught and had never felt the need to take their driving test because “they know what they are doing”?!
About the author
Stuart Earl FRICS is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, an RICS APC Mentor, an RICS APC Chair of Assessors and has been involved in talent development for most of his professional career. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-earl-b3b8056/