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From warzone to APC panel

Ahmed's Story - from warzone to APC panel

The path to APC can often be a bumpy one, and not without its stresses, but one recent candidate supported by LionHeart had to flee a warzone to sit his final panel.

Our APC support is accessed by candidates all over the world and our support officers try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate this. But one recent request to change a booked slot was a little more unusual than most.

Middle East-based geomatics surveyor Ahmed Ismail had an appointment booked with support officer Tracy Evans, ahead of his final panel interview. He and his family had travelled to Sudan in April 2023, planning to celebrate Eid with relatives, when war broke out and they were forced into hiding.

Tracy said: "I received a message from Ahmed apologising he wouldn't be able to make the appointment and explaining he had been caught up in the events in Sudan. His message said he'd had to leave everything behind but he would borrow a laptop when he was somewhere safe to get back in touch!

"Of course, we were very concerned for his safety so I was relieved when he did contact me as promised and we arranged to go through his presentation for his final panel, which he'd had to start again from scratch."

Ahmed explained: "Shortly after arriving in Sudan, the war erupted, and we found ourselves in immediate danger. Fearing for our lives, we had to hide for a week, with the militia launching attacks just below our house.

"We surrounded our hiding spot with mattresses while the battle raged outside our door."

During Ramadan, Ahmed and his family, including his sister's small children, decided they would try to reach a safer city - navigating treacherous roads, army and militia checkpoints.

He said: "We were advised to conceal our phones and avoid carrying large electronics to avoid arousing suspicion."

The journey to Port Sudan City took three days through rural areas with numerous delays. Eventually Ahmed reached the port where Saudi evacuation ships were waiting, and managed to secure passage to Jeddah and then Dammam.

He said: "Understanding the challenges I had faced, my company kindly provided me with a spare laptop since I had left both my office and personal laptops behind. With renewed determination, I began gathering my application resources and rewriting my interview presentation. Despite the tight timeline, I was fortunate that interviews for Geomatics path in the Middle East were rescheduled for the following month."

Having had chance to practise his presentation with Tracy, Ahmed promised to keep her posted - later emailing to say he had passed, despite all the obstacles.

He said: "LionHeart was an invaluable source of support throughout my APC journey and in particular preparing for the final assessment interview, helping me refine my presentation until I was confident and ready.

"Despite the hardships, I successfully obtained my MRICS qualification, which brought immense joy and hope in the midst of darkness. As I look towards the future, I am eager to embrace new challenges, contribute to the industry's advancement, and continue my journey of professional growth and success.

"For others undertaking the APC, my advice would be to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and stay focused on long-term goals. The journey may be demanding, but with the right mindset and support, success is attainable.

"I wholeheartedly recommend LionHeart to my colleagues. The support and guidance I received were instrumental in my success."

Tracy said: "I'm so pleased Lion Heart was able to help Ahmed and I will always remember this particular APC journey - what an inspiring achievement in the face of adversity!"