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New Experience Assessment System for Engineering – Online Competency-Based Assessment

Introduction


Prior to being granted a licence, an engineering applicant must demonstrate their ability to practise engineering. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they possess, through experience, a satisfactory capability to practice engineering at a professional level.

Many of Canada’s engineering regulators have implemented or are moving toward competency-based assessment of engineering experience. To this end, a multi-year, Pan-Canadian competency-based assessment project has been undertaken with participation from engineering regulators in several provinces. In the current phase of this project, the online competency assessment system developed by Engineers & Geoscientists BC is being adapted for use by other regulators in Canada.

APEGS Council proposes to adopt this new experience assessment system, effective January 1, 2019. It will apply to professional engineer applicants to APEGS (i.e. engineers-in-training). All requirements remain the same, including four years of experience, at least one year of experience in a Canadian or equivalent-to-Canadian environment, and the possibility to count up to one year of pre-grad experience for eligible applicants, as well as the others that are currently in place.

Note that competency-based assessment for geoscience experience is under development in a separate project and its implementation is being planned for the future.


Benefits of Competency-Based Assessment


Competencies are observable and measurable skills, knowledge, abilities, motivations or traits required for professional registration that are demonstrated through the actions and behaviours of the applicant. The competency-based assessment system:
  • permits a more quantitative assessment of applicants using a more precise measuring system than the current APEGS experience review guidelines.
  • more explicitly described and defined measurement tool to assess readiness for licensure.
  • makes the assessment more objective, transparent and consistent and increases the confidence of all who participate in the process including applicants, validators, employers and assessors on the Experience Review Committee.
What constitutes acceptable engineering experience is not changing, we are better defining it.  


Description of the Competency-Based Assessment Framework


The competency assessment framework makes use of seven Competency Categories, which are groupings of a total of 34 competencies or skills:
• Technical competence [10 competencies]
• Communication [3 competencies]
• Project and financial management [5 competencies]
• Team effectiveness [2 competencies]
• Professional accountability [6 competencies]
• Social, economic, environmental and sustainability [5 competencies]
• Personal continuing professional development (CPD) [3 competencies]

The seven categories represent the areas in which professional engineers of all disciplines must be competent to ensure effective practice and public safety. Each Competency Category contains a list of the key competencies required in that area. The complete details are posted below.

Achievement of each category is measured through a Competency Rating Scale that outlines six different levels of competence (0-5). A successful candidate must meet each of the competencies in each category at a minimum level of 1 on the Competency Rating Scale, while achieving the required minimum category average ‘entry to practice’ rating level of 2 or 3, depending on the category.


Online Submission


The use of an online competency assessment process enables applicants to easily report and their validators to validate their engineering experience from anywhere in the world (keeping in mind that a minimum of one year of Canadian or equivalent-to-Canadian experience is still required). Applicants, validators and assessors are provided with a personal login and once an applicant has completed his or her competency entries, the applicable validators are automatically notified when the competencies that pertain to them are ready to validate.

For a complete description of the online submission process, see additional information posted below.  


Timeline and next steps


February 2, 2018: Council will finalize the competency-based assessment written material:
- The necessary revisions to the Bylaws to accommodate these changes
- Competency Assessment Guide for Applicants Validators and Assessors
- Competency-Based Assessment Value Analysis

The bylaw change details will be provided to the membership with the Annual Meeting notice package. As well, the current draft of these documents is posted on the APEGS website under Members, Competency-Based Assessment.

May 5, 2018: APEGS membership ratifies Council’s recommendation to switch to competency-based assessment at the Annual Meeting.

September 2018 (approximately): Ministerial approval of bylaw changes.

January 1, 2019: Competency-based assessment of engineering experience comes into effect.


Transition from the Current Experience Reporting System


You may continue in the current experience reporting system if you wish if you are a current engineer-in-training who has submitted one or more experience reports before January 1, 2019. However, you are encouraged and invited to switch to the online competency assessment system when it comes into effect.

You will use the new online competency-based assessment system if any one of the following situations applies to you:
• current engineer-in-training who has not submitted one or more experience reports before January 1, 2019;
• people who applied to APEGS as an engineer-in-training on or after January 1, 2019.

Town Hall Meetings


Starting in January 2018, APEGS staff will be touring the province and facilitating Town Hall meetings at a variety of locations to present and discuss these changes with the membership (as well as the proposed changes to CPD reporting). To register and for details click here.

Feedback Requested 


Your feedback and questions are requested. You may do so by attending one of the Town Hall meetings or by contacting Tina Maki, P.Eng., Director of Special Projects at 306-525-9547 or toll free North America 1-800-500-9547 or tmaki@apegs.ca. 



Related Attachments 


Competency Assessment Guide 2018 - APEGS

The Competency Rating Scale Table, Competency Framework outline and Competency Indicators are all incorporated into the Guide. 


Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan
Achieving a Safe & Prosperous Future Through Engineering & Geoscience