Being Chartered - key to recognition of the Engineering Profession
A Special Committee of Council of Engineers Australia (which I chaired as a National Councillor) has been working on the matter of the level of uptake by members to become Chartered. Council has now received the report and has asked our CEO to develop an implementation plan and has asked me to assist the CEO in the process. As part of the process I wanted to establish a dialogue with EA members and between members via this LinkedIn site to get some response to some of the approaches that are being considered. Rather than addressing a whole range of issues, I first thought that I might seek feedback of a particularly key issue.
A key issue is the role of a professional organization and what is stands for. It is apparent to me that unless being Chartered is the aspirational goal of every member as a profession we face a problem. Members who have achieved Stage 1 Competency (for each of the Occupational Categories) should aim to achieve Stage 2 Competency requirements and be Chartered. This is far from the case at the moment and to me it is a matter of major concern and a threat to the profession. Council agrees. Many members are hiding behind a false standing and just becoming MIEAust without ever achieving Stage 2 Competency. This is a confusing situation and needs clarity. Being Chartered is a positive commitment to maintain your standing and undertaking continuing professional development (in its wide range of forms). So the thinking is that the membership grade of EA should just equate to having achieved Stage 1 Competency (accredited degree, diploma etc) while Chartered membership equates to having “gone through the gate” and having been assessed to have reached Stage 2 Competency and thus eligible to be a Chartered member.
It is then also important to get our employers of members of the engineering team to require that their employees be Chartered members . This will involve some marketing effort.
What are your thoughts on how we can make this happen? What are the threats if we do or if we don’t?
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Being Chartered Dear Peter and Mark, Thank for your comments. It provides me an opportunity to respond to a number of issues that you both raised. In the first instance it was certainly not my intent to alienate or offend. However, presently MIEAust has a meaning to the outside world that may not match expectation. It does mean that the person has an accredited degree , has provided a CV that shows 3 years of engineering experience and has agreed to comply with the Code of Ethics. But it is not tested and does not signify that the experiential formation has been deemed to meet Stage 2 competency. The requirement to be Chartered and the requirement to be admitted to the National Professional Engineers Register is Stage 2 Competency. Indeed the very reason that Council established the Special Committee was to address the sort of issues that you both mention. I agree that there is a significant group of members who found that they could not meet the previous Stage 2 Competency Standards as requirements were interpreted in a very narrow way. Accordingly, interpretation of the meaning of design has been one of the obstacles. A further obstacle has been identification of area of practice and the feeling that there is no appropriate field. There are many members who are stranded and do not see a way to be Chartered. That is a matter of concern. I did not mean to infer that these members are hiding behind a false standing. Amongst a range of recommendations by the Special Committee, all areas of engineering practice are to covered by the Colleges. Peter's comment on multidisciplinary activities of many members is very true. The 2012 Stage 2 Competency Standards have been prepared, after wide consultation, to allow a graduate with a few years balanced experience to demonstrate compliance. Multidisciplinary experience is accommodated by the 2012 Stage 2 Competency Standards. So I wonder Peter's comment may be based on the earlier version of the Stage 2 Competency Standards. So we need to deal with our own processes, we need to have our own members recognize the benefit and we need to convince employers and their customers to recognize the value of having their engineering team recognized by their professional association. As well, we need to ensure that members such as Peter can get through the Stage 2 Competency assessment process, albeit belatedly. Alex Baitch
Posted at Thu, 12/07/2012 - 7:40pm | Author: 198205
Chartered Status Prof. Batch, I graduated as an electrical and electronics engineer and have been working in new product development for the last 20 years. I have worked for many companies of various sizes, in multiple countries, in various positions with differing levels of responsibility. I met stage1 competency and believe that I meet stage 2, however, along with many of my colleagues struggle to see the value in becoming chartered. The main reasons for this follow: 1. Most positions don't require it; 2. Many companies don't support a member becoming Chartered; 3. Many don't see the value in Chartered MIE Aust. (no incentive); 4. IE Aust. is a Civil focused organisation with few activities that support other discipline CPD requirements; 5. Unless working for a company geared for IE Aust. requirements it can be difficult to show you meet the requirements; 6. Many join other discipline specific organisations; 7. Some feel that it just opens you up to law suits. In the UK some companies that I worked for supported gaining Chartered membership and would reward recipients with an immediate pay increase of ~GBP 2000. I don't feel that I am "hiding behind a false standing" more that I don't understand the value of becoming chartered. Regards Mark Carter
Posted at Thu, 12/07/2012 - 12:59pm | Author: 573837
Chartered Status Prof. Baitch, I note your comment “Many members are hiding behind a false standing,” and “it is a matter of major concern and a threat to the profession”. That is a really good way of alienating those, like myself, who will find it difficult to reach stage 2 competency based on the current EA college system. I studied "Multidisciplinary Systems" Engineering at ANU. This is/was a course that did not fit snugly into the EA college system. I ended up joining the mechanical college as my interests lay more in this area than in any other. I then worked for the Defence Materiel Organisation, Gibbs & Cox, Tenix, BAE Systems and now Taylor Bros Slipway & Engineering and have worked on many of the large Naval projects of the last 15 years, Collins, ANZAC Class FFG Upgrade, Air Warfare Destroyers and Landing Helicopter Docks. I've had a varied, challenging and fulfilling career working in logistics support, configuration management, project management, test & trials, quality management and even in human factors / combat system engineering - I have, however, never worked or completed any mechanical engineering design. By my reading of the stage 2 competencies, a competent engineer must have completed design work (among other competencies) in their chosen field... In any case, given my work experience, what is my chosen field? There is no multidisciplinary field. I think this would be the case for many of my colleagues in todays job market. The college system may suit those engineers that have studied a focused degree for stage 1 competency and then worked in their chosen field and undertaken work to fulfil the requirements of their chosen college for stage 2 competency. It does not, however, fulfil the requirements of someone like myself that has completed a general degree (like the one at ANU) or a degree that does not snugly fit the EA college system or the preconceived notion of what an engineer is today. I have thought about joining RINA as they are far more open to the idea of my experience meeting their requirements for chartered status. Your comments about "hiding behind a false standing" may be just the push I need. Regards Peter Thurling MIEAust (Not Chartered) email@example.com
Posted at Wed, 11/07/2012 - 8:50am | Author: 2819466