The LI has written to congratulate the 72 candidates who successfully completed the Pathway in November. Here, we meet some of the successful candidates

Successful candidate Divya Umakanth
Successful candidate Divya Umakanth

 

These members, now Chartered Landscape Architects (CMLI), represent 84 per cent of those taking the exam, making it the highest pass rate since the Pathway began.

Alex Byrne, head of Professional Development at the LI, said: “As well as congratulating those who passed, the LI wishes to thank those who gave their time to support these newly chartered members in achieving their goal to be become Chartered. Mentoring is a vital role on the Pathway, as well as a rewarding one to the individual.”

A full list of the new Chartered Landscape Architects can be found here, while below three successful candidates and two of this year’s mentors share their thoughts on the experience.

Meet the candidates

Divya Umakanth is a landscape architect at Randle Siddeley Associates in Battersea, London

What difference do you think becoming CMLI will make to your career?
Becoming a CMLI enables me to practice as a landscape architect knowing that my title is protected under the Charter. At a personal level, I feel a lot more confident at work. It also reassures clients and other stakeholders, on the quality and diligence of my work.

How did it feel when you found out you had passed
I was very excited. Passing the exam means a lot to me, both personally and professionally.

What was it like being on the Pathway?
I have been on the Pathway for almost three years and the process has helped me understand key subject areas that relate to my day-to-day working practices. Finding  the right balance between work and studies was difficult at time, but the Pathway exposed me to a lot of subjects that I might not have the opportunity to gain direct work experience on.

How did you find the exam?
I was quite tense at the outset but the friendly approach by the examiners put me at ease.

What’s next for you?
I consider becoming a CMLI as a milestone in my professional career and want to use the knowledge and to explore wider opportunities. I hope to set up my own practice in the future and hence want to gain all the experience I need in order to achieve this.

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Hugh Barne is a landscape architect at Gillespies LLP based on the outskirts of Oxford

What difference do you think becoming CMLI will make to your career?
Gaining CMLI status has helped me to consolidate my professional experience thus far and the understanding I’ve gained in preparing for CMLI will give me more confidence in contributing as part of a design team. It’s made me aware of a range of issues that I will need to continue gaining experience on.

How did it feel when you found out you had passed?
Relieved and delighted – I felt that all the effort had been worth it.

What was it like being on the Pathway?
If I’m honest, at times, it seemed like a lot of effort and stress in addition to a busy workload. However, I can now see in hindsight that the structure of the pathway supported me well and I feel that it was very worthwhile.

How did you find the exam?
Inevitably, the exam was a daunting experience to some degree. But I was also surprised that once I’d arrived I felt relatively relaxed and I enjoyed talking through my experience.

What’s next for you?

It feels like a new chapter is beginning.

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Ruth Shelton is based in the Home Counties and specialises in designing children’s outdoor play spaces

What difference do you think becoming CMLI will make to your career?
I’m rather proud of my achievement and the extra confidence I’ve gained through the whole experience is already helping me. I think in the long term it will open up new opportunities.

How did it feel when you found out you had passed?
Absolutely over the moon! I’m afraid there was some shrieking and arm waving. Well, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

What was it like being on the Pathway?
While at times hard work, the process of completing my quarterly submissions has been rewarding in it’s own right. It can be time consuming so it definitely paid off taking the little and often approach. I think I’m going to miss it…

How did you find the exam?
Much less terrifying than I expected. The examiners were kind, attentive and really helped to put me as much at my ease as possible under the circumstances.

What’s next for you?
My first steps on this current journey started 11 years ago. I’ve enjoyed the trip, even the scary bits and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store.

Meet the mentors

Ros Southern is director of Southern Green Ltd, a landscape practice based in Tyneside

How long have you been a mentor?
I started as a mentor a few years ago when one of our graduates decided they would like to progress to Chartership. As a professional practice examiner for many years, it was natural for me to take this role, although the change to P2C from the old system was quite challenging for the examiners and mentors, as well as the candidates! I am a big fan of the Pathway now, especially as the system has gradually been updated to iron out bugs and make the process user-friendly.

Why do you do it?
I clearly remember the feeling of enlightenment when I studied for my own professional practice exam more than 20 years ago. Back then there were no mentors and no internet so it was rather a struggle to learn, but nevertheless suddenly many things became clear and I realised how important it was to understand my role as a professional and do the job properly. Now my aim is to try and help my candidates to find the syllabus relevant and interesting. It is so rewarding to see candidates make progress and a real buzz when they pass the exam.

Do you find mentoring benefits your own CPD?
Yes, and not only me, but the whole office. My colleague was preparing for the recent November exams and I encouraged everyone to join in with P2C questions and finding relevant anecdotes from our everyday jobs –­ it’s a good refresher for everyone. We also encourage P2C candidates to feed back what they have learned and keep everyone informed of any relevant developments in legislation and planning law.

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Usue Ruiz-Arana is an associate at Colour UDL based in Newcastle and London

How long have you been a mentor?
I started in June 2009 with two candidates, one of whom has just passed her exam.

Why do you do it?
At Colour, we place a strong emphasis in the professional development of our junior members of staff to help further their careers and the practice’s progress. Personally, I find it very rewarding to see how candidates advance through the pathway and how that is reflected in the quality of their work, their understanding of it and their professional attitude. I was once a candidate myself and found any help I could get very useful; it’s good to be able to help others now.

Do you find mentoring benefits your own CPD?
Definitely. A candidate places a lot of trust in his or her mentor and, in turn, it’s the mentor’s responsibility to keep their knowledge on the syllabus up to date. It also keeps your knowledge refreshed in areas of the syllabus less used in your daily work.

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