BY JIM BECKETT, P.ENG.
I guess this is it. Summer holiday season is winding down and many of you will have recently returned from your various journeys and vacations. I hope you are home safe and rested and raring to go, with plenty of adventures behind you and fond memories to carry forward.
As the season of relaxation and summer jobs and placements ends, the season of learning and study begins. One of my favourite activities when our kids were still going to school was shopping for school supplies. Not only did the shopping signify “back to school,” it was an opportunity for some real deals.
My favourite was getting the best deal on loose-leaf paper. So much so that we have several packages of loose-leaf paper left over from our kids’ school days. Perhaps the rest of us should follow the example of back-to-school preparation, and think about education and value.
For APEGGA members, back to school usually means Continuing Professional Development. Like my kids every August, we have all grumbled on occasion — I know I have — about the necessity to keep up our self-directed Continuing Professional Development programs and fill out the paperwork for APEGGA. Why not look at CPD as an opportunity instead of a burden? Let’s challenge ourselves to get the best value for our investment in CPD.
On that front, your Association can certainly help. APEGGA provides an ongoing array of professional development opportunities. As well, branches offer luncheons and seminars at the local level, which are great opportunities to learn while you earn CPD credits. That’s value.
Dr. Lionel Laroche, P.Eng., an Ontario engineer, author and expert in cultural adaptation, has two upcoming seminars to help internationally educated members become successful on the job. A seminar entitled Being a Successful Internationally Educated Professional in Canada takes place Nov. 20 in Calgary and Nov. 23 in Edmonton. And then, Nov. 24 and 25 in Edmonton, Dr. Laroche puts on a two-day seminar called Training the Trainer: Assisting Internationally Educated Professionals.
You’ll notice a difference in perspective. The first seminar is for newcomers to Canada themselves. The other is for those who need to help newcomers adjust to their new surroundings.
Our Board of Examiners does excellent work in making sure those we accept as professionals from other jurisdictions are technically and ethically qualified, as well as fluent enough in English, to do their work. But being approved by the board and landing a job are only the beginning.
Adapting to a new culture is critical to the success of every internationally educated graduate. With the growing percentage of our ranks being filled by people trained beyond our boundaries, this type of professional development makes perfect sense.
The PEGG contains a full section dedicated to professional development. To find out about the seminars I’ve mentioned and the others your Association provides — as well as those from other providers — check out the section, starting on page 10.
I am often asked how our mandatory Continuing Professional Development program works for non-practicing members. Here’s the lowdown.
You are exempted from CPD if you submit a non-practicing declaration. If you are temporarily out of work, for example, and have not filled out the declaration, you are still required to complete 240 hours of CPD over three years.
Note: this is an average of 80 hours per year. APEGGA does not require that any single year’s worth of CPD add up to 80 hours — you can roll over extra hours from one year to the next or top up the year before.
You might be able to have your hours reduced while you are unemployed. For this to happen, you must submit a written request for special consideration to the APEGGA Practice Review Board. Whether your request is granted is up to the board.
But what about if you have filled out the declaration? What happens then?
Simple answer: you don’t have to do any CPD (although if the opportunity presents itself, you certainly can). You will still pay your dues and you will keep your professional designation. The Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act also requires that, as a professional member, you file an annual CPD report. But you must not practice and you must be prepared to acknowledge that you are non-practicing.
You may be able to begin practicing again, down the road, but only if the Practice Review Board gives you permission. If this happens, it would be in response to an application from you, seeking a status change back to practicing, but the longer you have been “non-practicing” the more difficult it will be to get a resumption.
And that’s about as far into the subject as I am prepared to wade. You’ll need to contact Ray Chopiuk, P.Eng., Director, Professional Practice, for further clarification. His e-mail address is in the More Info box in this article.
Mentoring Conference Returns
It’s an event that just keeps getting better and more interesting. Registration is under way now for APEGGA’s fourth annual National Mentoring Conference, Mentoring: The Universal Advantage.
The conference features four keynote speakers over two days, including none other than the world-famous, Alberta-born architect Douglas Cardinal, OC. Also on the list is the aforementioned Dr. Laroche.
You need to act fast on this one. The conference happens a month earlier than last year’s did. Dates are Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 at the Delta Bow Valley in Calgary. Registration deadline is Sept. 11.
In a few short years, APEGGA has become a mentoring leader among the professions, through this conference and through a formal mentoring program run by our Professional Development Department.
The conference draws people from across the country and from disciplines and professions beyond our own. The broadness of this event’s appeal speaks volumes about its importance and the role your Association plays.
How important is mentoring? I think all of us can point to experienced role models who took an interest in our careers and gave us the sound example, advice and guidance we needed. Although informal mentoring relationships can be very positive, studies do show that formalized mentoring — with written goals, expectations and other measurables — tend to be even more effective.
I know this has been the experience at the company I work for. Mentoring is very much part of our corporate culture. I believe it’s important, and so does the Association I’m proud to lead, this year.
Questions or comments? Please contact me at email@example.com.