A total of 39 Landscape Institute members successfully completed the Pathway to Chartership in May.
In all, 48 candidates sat the May 2014 P2C exam, after typically spending two to three years on the Pathway system. The candidates were spread across the UK, and even as far afield as Doha, Qatar.
The exams, carried out in London and Manchester over three days, had an 80% pass rate.
A new, revised exam syllabus was used for the first time in the May exam. This syllabus was intended to simplify the approach whilst maintaining standards.
‘There was a lot of positive feedback from the candidates, which validates the new approach to the syllabus,’ said Chris Sheridan, Head of Education and Membership.
‘There was a variety of ages, locations and experience among this year’s candidates. We are proud of the expertise these candidates have demonstrated and the increasingly international approach of our members and what they do.’
Licentiate members decide to sit the P2C for a variety of reasons, from career progression and knowledge expansion to distinction within the landscape profession. An LI study undertaken last year showed that chartered landscape architects earn 50-60% more, on average, than licentiate members.
A full list of all successful candidates and their mentors is available here.
The Landscape Institute has profiled a handful of successful candidates, sharing their experience on the P2C.
Chris Mayes. lead advisor – National Character Areas, Natural England & Heritage at Risk landscape architect North East and North West Regions, English Heritage
Senior Practitioner Pathway pilot candidate
For Chris Mayes, one of two candidates on the Senior Practitioner pilot, the Pathway to Chartership experience was a time of reflection on his professional life to date.
Chris joined the Pathway in October 2013, after his employer, Natural England, undertook the pilot with the Landscape Institute. The pilot aims to move candidates with decades of experience through the syllabus at an increased pace.
Chris has worked in the landscape sector for more than 15 years in a variety of roles, mainly in the public sector, including landscape specialist, landscape officer, and environment officer.
Although he had considered the P2C before, he felt that his years of experience meant that the system wasn’t well suited to him. ‘I had been delaying putting myself forward for the LI exams for some time but had been in the landscape sector for quite a few years,’ he said,’ I just felt that I was well suited to try it out both for the benefits of me, and to test the senior practitioner approach.’
In between working as a lead advisor at Natural England and more recently adding the role of Heritage at Risk landscape architect with English Heritage, Chris spent about six months on the Pathway, working his way through the syllabus for three to four hours every week. He kept in regular contact with his advisor, speaking on the phone about every two weeks.
‘It’s quite intensive. The senior practitioner route was less about learning new things and more about applying what I already learned over many years, and applying that to the syllabus,’ Chris said.
‘When you have 10 to 15 years experience behind you, you can much more quickly assimilate ideas and knowledge.’
The route included learning new material, but focused more on reflection of what he knew, and how he applied it, he said. The third core element, Assessment and Analysis, contained objectives that Chris had been practising in his everyday work environment for 10 or more years.
‘The new stuff was predominantly around the differences of private practices. The content supports an understanding of the way a wider landscape architecture professional works,’ he said.
‘The syllabus has an overarching understand of what it is to act professionally. It has helped remind me of things that I perhaps took for granted in everyday work.’
Moving on from the course as a newly chartered landscape professional, Chris is now planning out his required 25 hours of CPD learning.
‘The syllabus sets out a way of thinking about continuous learning and in a much more structured way,’ he said. ‘I’m going to look into areas that I’m not as strong in, and I will use the syllabus as a framework.’
Ross Loughnane. landscape architect, KEO International Consultants. Doha, Qatar.
For Ross Loughnane, the Pathway to Chartership has opened the door to becoming a sole practitioner, or for consideration of a more senior position within his Qatar-based practice.
Ross works mainly in the public realm; designing parks, urban public space and streetscapes. He joined the Pathway in September 2012, three years after completing a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from University College London.
‘I wanted to keep my options open in terms of being a sole practitioner and obviously it is in integral part of becoming a successful landscape architect,’ he said. ‘It is as integral as undertaking my degree in the first place.’
‘It’s widely recognised in Qatar, and the Middle East. It’s a vital step to becoming a senior member of staff.’
Ross worked his way through the P2C syllabus through a combination of support from his mentor and work senior, Aaron Booth, and fellow work colleagues also enrolled in the P2C.
‘We set up a study group with some peers so we had a similar kind of support structure as people found in London, or anywhere in the UK,’ he said.
Through the study group, the candidates discussed the syllabus, and shared knowledge gleaned through Talking Landscape forums, the Landscape Institute website, and other landscape-information related sites. ‘When you have the internet and these online resources, the world doesn’t seem like such a big place,’ he said.
Ross allocated an increasing amount of his time in a staged progression, spending about 6 hours a week on the Pathway in the first year. This increased to 12 hours per week from September 2013, and by four months before the exam, Ross was spending about 18 hours a week on the P2C. ‘We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to do it a second time,’ he said.
‘Professionalism was an integral element of the syllabus that I think I benefited a great deal from. You do undertake your work day to day in a professional manner, but the syllabus broke it down into the elements, which means that you can use it daily and consciously.’
‘The new set-up of the syllabus made me think about landscape in a different way. This time the syllabus put into a much broader context the unique and individual experience people have and it accommodated that. We don’t all fall into the same line as landscape architects; it’s a wonderfully varied profession.’
The P2C ‘sets the standard’ in the KEO International Consultant office, where the majority of landscape architects are CMLI. ‘There is not as much of a structure in the Middle East, so we set the standard here for that.’
Nicola Wright, landscape architect, Allen Pyke Associates. Cambridge, UK.
Recent graduate Nicola Wright found the Pathway to Chartership syllabus useful in helping her get up to speed with the level of knowledge required in the workplace. The syllabus explained and clarified everyday professional terminology and bolstered knowledge of other areas of practice, she said.
Nicola graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University and got a job with James Blake Associates, before enrolling on the Pathway to Chartership in 2012. ‘I just thought it was the natural progression,’ she said. ‘I took the first opportunity to join that I could.’
Nicola spent two years on the Pathway before she sat her exam in May 2014. As the mentor in her workplace already had four candidates, Nicola used Talking Landscapes to find Claire Michael, her mentor. Although in different cities, the pair easily kept in contact through a mixture of quarterly meetings and technology. ‘We used Skype and emailed, and spoke on the phone. It’s proof that it does work – you don’t have to be in the same place!’
Additionally, Nicola has been supported by her office colleagues and managers. She spread the study time by arriving at work an hour early every day, and organised a study group with fellow candidates in Cambridge.
‘At first it was quite daunting, but I learnt a vast amount of information that I didn’t think would apply to my job. I’ve learnt a lot more in-depth information about areas that are now specialisms,”’she said. ‘I was able to see the benefits of it.’
Nicola specialises in planning at Allen Pyke Associates, but now feels confident to talk about, and advise on wider areas such as water and contracts.
As part of the first group of candidates to use the revised exam syllabus, Nicola said the new syllabus included mini exam questions that tested you along the way, and was more ordered.
‘The revised syllabus was a lot more logical. The old syllabus fragmented all the topic areas, but the new syllabus brought it all together.’
As well as working with her study group, Nicola sat a mock exam, used Talking Landscape, and shadowed her mentor for a day to see what it was like working in the public sector.
After two years of hard work and a successful exam result, Nicola can now enjoy putting what she’s learnt into practice.’It’s going to be put into reality! I’m going to have to do it now. I’m relieved and actually looking forward to what might happen.’