Landscape architect Catherine Lester from Taylor Young on what it’s like to be a Pathway Examiner

Catherine Lester
Catherine Lester

With the LI is looking for chartered members to join its team of Pathway to Chartership Examiners next year, we asked first-time examiner Catherine Lester to share her thoughts on the role after her first few months.

How long have you been a Pathway Examiner?
Just three months! I undertook my first exam in November 2011.

How did you get involved with the Pathway to Chartership?
Since becoming CMLI, I have made a conscious effort to keep in touch with the Pathway to Chartership (P2C) and initially assisted colleagues on an informal basis. More recently, I have established a stronger connection to P2C by fulfilling the role of mentor. My first candidate gained Chartership this year and I now mentor two candidates – one within the practice in which I work and another who is employed elsewhere who I met through Talking Landscape.

What support and guidance were you given in preparation for the first time you examined a candidate?
Prior to my appointment, Alex Byrne [Head of Professional Development at the LI] described the role of an examiner, outlined the expectations of the Landscape Institute and gave me the opportunity to ask questions before making any commitment to the position. This process ensured both parties had a clear understanding of one another’s aspirations.

I undertook examiner training before the exam and this included a briefing on the format of the exam, details of timings, criteria and protocol for the pending exam session. On the day of the exam, I spent the morning monitoring which gave me a good insight into examination techniques and the structure of the exam.

What do you get from examining?
Being an examiner brings a number of benefits. In the first instance, it enables me to keep in touch with syllabus topics which, in turn, contribute to my own CPD targets and strengthens my personal CV. Having an understanding of exam procedure also enables me to give valuable feedback and disseminate knowledge to my candidates and enrich my role as their mentor. Perhaps most importantly, it gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction being able to assist the career progression of fellow professionals. In addition, it provides an arena to meet new people and make connections within the landscape industry.

What was it like to examine a candidate for the first time?
At my first exam session, I was conscious that I was joining an established group of examiners who fulfilled more senior roles in their respective companies. It was soon apparent that these concerns were unfounded and that the group were very welcoming, appreciated my opinions and valued my contribution to the Pathway process.

Monitoring allowed me first-hand experience of examination techniques and gave me an appreciation that every candidate is unique, both in terms of personality and knowledge.

My first few exams went smoothly as I was partnered with another, more experienced examiner who had skills complementary to mine. We discussed each candidate before each exam giving me a clear focus for questioning. In addition to the support of my co-examiner, the chief examiner was always on hand to answer questions.

Becoming a Pathway Examiner

For further information about becoming an examiner and to download an application form, click here

Application forms should be emailed to with your CV by 31 January 2012.


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