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Up to now, auctioneers and valuers wishing to join have only had the option of taking technical awards in either Real Property or Chattels auctioneering, but after a big rethink the organisation will offer associate membership to experienced professionals.

While RICS require applicants to possess a bachelor's level degree (or RICS-approved professional body membership, according to their website) for their professional experience-based applications for membership, NAVA are not asking for this and will base their assessment on five years' experience.

NAVA president Gary Harper told ATG the new move mirrored the many 'pathways' other professional bodies were developing for new members to join, such as the RICS, who have a number of options.

Professional Skills

It also recognised that many auctioneers and valuers were being put off by the exams - perhaps because of a reluctance to become a 'student' again having worked hard, run businesses and shown their professional skills for years.

"We want to encourage membership growth by opening up the doors to others who previously effectively felt they were barred," he added. "Membership had almost gone too far down the examination route only and that was the only way."

Up to now the change has only been publicised through internal channels and to existing members to spread the word, but NAVA want as many potential members as possible to know.

Associate members can use the designatory letters ANAVA and the organisation is developing a path to full membership.

Applicants can contact Shelley Brown, NAVA head of membership, on 0845 250 6002 or email shelleybrown@nfopp.co.uk

RICS also have a 'senior professional route' to membership which does not require a degree or equivalent qualification, but this asks for 10 years of relevant experience.