Mentoring represents vital investment in the profession

You can help young planners complete assessments of professional competence, explains Jacqui Ward.

More than 800 licentiates are now registered on the assessment of professional competence (APC) towards chartered membership of the RTPI, with more than 250 having registered this year alone.

The APC is a structured membership route for planners, with an emphasis on professional development planning. Licentiates achieve competence by continual reflection on their experiences. The APC process is supported by completion of a log book, professional development plan and access to a mentor.

Support backed by experience

Mentors are chartered town planners who have agreed to support a licentiate through their APC. Most licentiates are able to identify their own mentor, usually in their workplace. For some licentiates this may not be possible and they can apply to the RTPI to be paired with a volunteer mentor. To date, 25 successful pairings have been made, with ten arranged just this year.

Such demand means that we are always seeking new volunteers willing to have their details held on a database and be paired with a local licentiate. The need is particularly great in London and the South East, but requests are received from all over the UK and Ireland.

Mentors are there to provide support and a listening ear to graduates in the early years of their career. Licentiates may wish to seek guidance or direction on topics such as:

- Professional development plans.
- Gaining relevant experience.
- Career opportunities.
- Professional networking.
- General workplace issues.

Overall, mentors have found the experience stimulating and rewarding. One comments: "This is a great opportunity to work with different planning colleagues". Another says: "I enjoyed the opportunity to expand different areas of expertise and provide a forum for learning through discussion."

"This is a great way to gain a different type of management experience," one volunteer adds, while another notes: "The training available via the PlanningMatters modules is very useful." Summing it up, one mentor points to the rewards of seeing someone benefit from your professional input and experience.

For further information on mentoring, including responsibilities and time commitments, please visit www.rtpi.org.uk/join_the_rtpi/assessment_of_professional_competence. If you think you could offer your time to volunteer, please email apc@rtpi.org.uk.


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