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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 was 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.

At the May 2018 Annual Meeting, the APEGS membership approved this new experience assessment system, effective January 1, 2019. It applies 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 approved the change to competency-based assessment.

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

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 are required to 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


From January to March 2018, APEGS staff toured the province and facilitated Town Hall meetings in 14 locations. The proposed changes were presented and discussed (as well as the proposed changes to CPD reporting). Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A list of questions received at the Town Halls and the answers are posted in the Related Attachments below. 

Online CBA System - Sample Applicant for Viewing


A sample applicant's online submission has been made available for viewing. See the Related Attachments below for log in information and instructions. 

The link to the online system may not work directly from the pdf below. If not, please use this link:

https://competencyassessment.ca/ 


Feedback Requested 


Your feedback and questions are requested. You may do so 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. 



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