The APC Process – A Valuable Experience

by Libby Hindle, RTPI East of England Young Planners Rep

If you have been through the RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence, or are currently working towards it, you will have an appreciation of the rigorous process involved in achieving Chartered Membership. The main route to Chartership is through competency-based assessments (L-APC, A-APC, EP-APC), which require candidates to demonstrate how their experience and competence meet the high standards required.

Having recently gained Chartered Membership myself, I know only too well the time and effort that is required. It is a challenging process, but it is also a valuable one, providing candidates with a great opportunity to reflect on both the experience they have gained, and their career aspirations.

Whilst busily getting on with the day job it is easy to assume that simply gaining more project experience and undertaking the odd CPD training will be sufficient to help us develop as Planners, and push us on through our careers. It is also easy to think of the APC simply as a necessary process to be completed, and not realising the benefits of the tasks involved.

In preparing my submission, I had to take the time to reflect on my experience and competencies, on what goals I wish to aim towards, and how I plan to develop in order to achieve these. I found this to be a valuable opportunity, and markedly useful in shaping my personal and professional development. It highlighted to me the importance of being a reflective practitioner, and how I can shape and focus my professional development by preparing a navigated course to achieve my goals. Having now completed the ‘process’, I feel prouder of my achievements and my role within the profession then when I began my APC, having taken that time to reflect, and perhaps appreciate the value of my Chartered Membership more as a result.

APC Workshop – 24 April 2017

With many Young Planner’s in our region currently preparing their submissions, we were pleased to be able to host our annual APC seminar and workshop with staff from the RTPI’s Membership Team at Anglia Ruskin University in April. The evening was attended by around 30 student members, licentiates, and mentors.

Paige Harris, Planner at Boyer, who successfully completed her APC last year, attended the seminar to assist in her capacity now as an APC Mentor, and has provided an account of the evening together with her top tips for future candidates:

Becoming Chartered: Licentiate Assessment of Professional Competence (L-APC), 24 April 2017, Anglia Ruskin University

The presentation, given by Hilary Lush, Senior Membership Advisor for the RTPI, explained the three different APC routes to membership and provided specific guidance on the individual parts of the L-APC process, and how best to prepare for submission. Hilary explained in detail the requirements for each of the eleven professional competencies and talked through the latest L-APC Guidance Document. Attendees also had the opportunity to undertake an exercise relating to the Professional Development Plan (PDP). This is often found to be the area that applicants struggle with the most, so a chance to explore this in greater detail was greatly appreciated! Hilary broke down the elements of the PDP into manageable chunks so each could be looked at in detail, providing attendees with a clear understanding of the requirements.

The evening was very informative for both those undertaking the L-APC and those mentoring them. As a mentor, I found it acted as a good refresher of what’s involved and it was useful to have the guidance and process reaffirmed.

As a past candidate, here are my top tips for the L-APC submission:

  • Read and become familiar with the Guidance – it may seem simple, but familiarising yourself with the L-APC guidance will help you put it into action, will save you time and ensure that you fully understand what is expected from the assessment criteria;
  • Know what is expected and be reflective – ensure that you are confident of what is required from all the Professional Competencies and use the Competencies Checklist to ensure that each one is addressed. It is important to be reflective of what you have learnt through your experiences and how this has shaped your decisions and actions.
  • Be SMART – the Professional Development Plan (PDP) needs to include clear actions, that can are measurable and achievable, with a clear timeframe.
  • Keep up-to-date with your Log Book – you often see previous candidates mentioning this but it is so important. By updating your Log Book weekly/monthly you can remember what work you have undertaken in more detail and will mange to keep on top of it.

Good luck with your submissions!

Paige Harris MRTPI, Planner, Boyer

You can sign up for more information on Young Planners here: or email rtpieeyoungplanners@outlook.comYou can also follow us and see our pictures on Twitter @RTPIEoEYPs


About rtpieast

This is the blog for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) East of England. We organise seminars and events for our members in the East of England region for professional development. A quarterly newsletter and a regular ebulletin keeps members up-to-date with our events calendar. We award an annual Regional Planning Achievement Award to inspire and showcase planning within our Region.

Posted on May 19, 2017, in Young Planners. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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