Solomons' unique APC Bootcamp leaves delegates and hosts pumped up and raring to go

This summer we packed our apprentices off to an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) Bootcamp to hone their skills and experience on their journey to Chartership.

During August and September, they attended weekly workshops hosted by senior team members at Solomons to gain knowledge and an understanding of key APC competencies at Level 1 standard. These competencies – all crucial in their own ways to the day-to-day life of a Quantity Surveyor – included Contract Practice and Administration; Commercial Management and Project Finance (control and reporting); Procurement and Tendering; Health and Safety; Conflict Avoidance, Management and Dispute Resolution Procedures; Quantification and Costing.

The Bootcamp was an enormous success. But don't just take our word for it.

Here's what our apprentices had to say…

Carl Wright, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – North West

“I found Bootcamp really beneficial. The sessions put the APC competencies into context and made them appear less daunting. There’s so much to learn and understand that it can be quite overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, but it helped get things started and I’m looking forward to reviewing more of the APC content we covered to really push toward sign off.

"All of the workshop hosts delivered thoroughly planned and brilliant interactive sessions. They really know their stuff and I feel I can go to them with any questions going forward. I think Solomons are working really hard to support us on our MSc apprenticeship. Other companies aren’t providing this level of support to their apprentices, so it shows how Solomons are doing things differently.”

Cameron Field, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – North West

“It was clear to me that each of the workshops were diligently planned by the hosts, and subsequently delivered a concise, well-directed overview of the breadth of knowledge required for each competency at Level 1. This investment of time and effort by each of the workshop hosts is something I was most grateful for, as they all provided exactly what I was after to develop my knowledge at this level.

"The Q&A sessions in the final two weeks also provided really useful feedback for areas to focus on within each competency and an excellent practical experience of what to expect from the general format of questioning during the APC interview itself. I’d like to thank the team at Solomons who worked tirelessly behind the scenes in planning and delivering the Bootcamp. It was a highly beneficial experience supporting my development towards professional Chartership.”

Jack Riley, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – Cumbria

“The Bootcamp sessions were a great way of melding together theoretical knowledge with the experience of Quantity Surveyors within Solomons. It was great to be able to hear and learn real life examples from anecdotal practice rather than to simply read and digest terminology and its literal definition. Being able to sit in a room and discuss the nuances of the different competencies and understand where they may overlap and interchange was so valuable – not just in terms of APC but to being a more well-rounded Quantity Surveyor."

Rachel McSharry, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – Cumbria

“The sessions have provided a real insight into the key competencies that textbooks simply cannot provide. Although self-study has been a vital part of this learning experience, each week our discussions were facilitated by expert hosts, allowing for learning through lectures, brainstorming activities, Q&As and open discussions. Before the bootcamp I did not feel prepared to answer any APC level 1 questions. The sessions provided me with a much deeper understanding of six competencies, as well as familiarising myself with the format of the end point assessment – and they have given me a lot more confidence and determination when facing my APC.”

George Duxbury, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – Cumbria

“I found the recent bootcamp APC sessions extremely informative. The workshop hosts tried hard to make the sessions as concise as possible so that we were not overwhelmed. They all had a huge breadth of knowledge and answered questions with detailed responses. Healthy discussion was encouraged to help relate the competencies to our on-the-job experiences which helped put them into context. Now I have a greater understanding of what to expect at the interview stage and I will continue to read and develop my knowledge of the APC competencies.”

Ryan Pringle, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – North East

“The APC Bootcamp has proven extremely insightful and beneficial to both the APC pathway as a whole but also the level of knowledge and understanding required to achieve sign off at level 1. I really appreciated the workshop hosts for not only giving up their time, but for also sharing their wealth of experiences and knowledge, which will undoubtably be of benefit moving forward.”7

Here’s what our workshop hosts had to say…

Ian Hedley MRICS – North East Director: Contract Practice and Administration

“I really enjoyed hosting the workshop. Rather than simply being a delivery session, I was encouraged by the level of engagement and interaction from all of the apprentices. They were all clearly keen to make the most of the session to explore and broaden their knowledge with regular thoughtful questioning. Being able to relate the discussions to their experiences to date or specific scenarios helped their understanding. The subsequent Q&A sessions were just as encouraging. They went by very quickly with the apprentices responding both knowledgably and positively to the questions posed. It was clear that further time researching and reading relevant materials had been invested too, which was fantastic to see.”

Craig Smallman MRICS – Key Account Manager: Commercial Management and Project Finance (control and reporting)

“I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for and running the session. The apprentices came with a positive attitude and once the session got into full flow, everyone began to relax, ask questions, and show real curiosity about the topics covered. The key achievement for me was when I began to see them contextualise the content of the workshop with their client roles – understanding the big picture, the value and importance of their contribution, and the potential positive impact they could have on a project’s success if they applied the skills and approaches covered.

"The feedback received from everyone was really positive. This programme has not only furthered the development of the apprentices at the start of their career journey; as an experienced Senior member of the Solomons team, I’ve gained experience delivering technical presentations, teaching, and mentoring others. From my perspective, that’s a win-win for everyone concerned.”

Mark Coburn FRICS – North West Director: Procurement and Tendering

“It was great to present to the Bootcamp candidates, not only because I saw how each of them had progressed over the last 12 months and that they were all keen and enthused to learn more. I also enjoyed the process of preparing for a two-hour presentation, something I hadn’t done previously, looking at subject areas that I was unfamiliar with and new methods recently initiated by the construction industry. I felt that I could not only pass on my historic experience, but also highlight that there were new ways of procuring construction projects to the benefit all parties involved. The candidates were engaged all the way through, in particular when I could relate what I was saying to their own projects.

Dominic Doig FRICS – Managing Director: Health and Safety

“I really enjoyed the Bootcamp session with the apprentices. They brought my Health and Safety session to life and were engaging, passionate, and brought energy to the discussions. It is clear we are working with a talented cohort here, and I’m excited to see how they progress their development. Health and Safety sessions can often be seen as a dry topic, but this gang were a dream to work with – plenty of debate, discussion and ideas for improving the status quo.”

Ewan Peacock MRICS – Contract Executive: Conflict Avoidance, Management and Dispute Resolution Procedures

“I was really impressed with the level of engagement from the Bootcamp delegates in what was a true workshop, packed with discussion, ideas and knowledge sharing. They showed a keen interest in the ‘Conflict Avoidance, Management and Dispute Resolution Procedures’ competency and had started research on a topic that they hadn’t covered in their studies to date. And it’s fair to say that it was a two-way street; the apprentices added to their knowledge, as did I through re-visiting a competency that is not always part of a Quantity Surveyor’s day-to-day activities. While I want to give back and help our apprentices become Chartered, it was also good for my own CPD. As we say at Solomons, learning never stops no matter what stage your career is at. All in all, it was an extremely rewarding exercise.”

Peter Allinson MRICS – Contract Executive: Quantification and Costing

“The workshop was intentionally interactive. I wanted the apprentices to think about what they already knew about the topic before we got started, ask questions during the session, and then reflect on what they thought they already knew. The level of engagement was high, and they had clearly given the topic a lot of thought. Some of the discussion spontaneously wandered off topic and that was encouraging because the knowledge and skills in this APC competency are transferrable to others.

"For me, it demonstrated the apprentices were already thinking about how to apply their knowledge in different areas. Overall, I found the session hugely rewarding. As a group, the apprentices showed themselves to be supportive and encouraging of each other. And it has motivated me to continue to keep giving back to the profession, or paying it forward, as it is known at Solomons.”

The APC Bootcamp was designed to ensure delegates progress at speed as they continue on their exciting career journeys with Solomons.

Our MSc Apprenticeship Plus programme not only gives our apprentices the chance to secure a Level 6, MSc in Quantity Surveying but also gives them a shot at RICS Chartership.

Our MSc Apprenticeship Plus, along with a whole host of other programmes to help our team members be the best they can be all fall under Solomons’ Future Skills Academy.

Posts and articles are published here solely for informational purposes. The content contained therein may be brief and is intended to offer general guidance that may be of interest. The information provided is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for any professional advice, consultation or service.

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Solomons Europe is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Centrix House, Crow Lane East, Newton le Willows, WA12 9UY. Registered number: 3548482

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