More Answers to
This is the final of a series of articles responding to questions and comments prompted by the draft guideline on Continuing Professional Development issued last fall.
Since the printing of the draft guideline, a final version addressing the various concerns of the members was produced, approved by APEGGA Council, and circulated at the April 1997 Annual General Meeting. It is expected that this final guideline will be sent to individual members during the latter part of June.
Responses to the remaining three topics of concern to the members have been reproduced from the final guideline.
Keeping Records and Reporting
Each practicing professional is expected to maintain a complete record of his or her continuing professional development program. It is expected that records contain the following information:
- individual scope of practice;
- program plan;
- record of completed activities and number of PDHs (professional development hours) earned.
No specific format for records is required. However, to assist the membership, a blank form and sample records will be included in the appendix of the guideline.
Records will only be submitted to APEGGA when requested. The Association will not request detailed records from all members each year. However; in the first year, members will report in conjunction with annual dues payments:
- their practicing status;
- their industry of practice;
- their professional specialization.
In subsequent years, members will be required to report the numbers of PDHs claimed for the previous 12 months in each of the six activity categories outlined in the manual.
Role of the Employer
The employer has a role to play in professional development, and Permit to Practice holders have an obligation to ensure that professionals in their employ are competent. Every employer of professionals is encouraged to support the continuing professional development efforts of members. Members are encouraged to discuss their programs and plans with their employers or mentors. Through discussion and mutual agreement, the employer and professional can decide professional development requirements and the type and level of employer support. Employer support will result in an employee with an ongoing interest in life-long learning who, in turn, provides increased value and commitment to the company.
Among other things, employer support can include:
- consultation with the employee during development of the employee's program;
- provision of learning opportunities;
- assistance in developing job expectations and responsibilities;
- periodic review of employee performance and progress;
- assistance in documenting activities and levels of effort through company performance management systems;
- financial support of activities;
- allowing time to participate in activities;
- encouragement of professional development of employees;
- encouragement of employee competence.
It is important to note that even though the employer has a role to play in defining requirements, the primary responsibility for a continuing professional development program and maintaining competence rests with the individual professional. Members of the Association should be aware that APEGGA can only encourage employers to support the continuing professional development program. Some companies have existing corporate training or professional development programs that would enable members to meet these requirements.
Auditing of Programs
As part of the privilege of self-governance, the Association is responsible for auditing continuing professional development efforts. Auditing of selected individual members' programs may be undertaken:
- by random selection;
- as part of a review of a high-risk industry;
- by status change from non-practicing to practicing;
- in response to specific complaints from stakeholders; or
- as part of a practice review or investigation.
Should an audit be initiated, members will be contacted and requested to submit records for review. The audit will be to confirm that:
- members have a continuing professional development program in place, and
- the program meets the intent of the guideline.
Records submitted will initially be reviewed by APEGGA staff members. Members may be contacted to discuss the content of their program. Staff members may provide suggestions on how to structure the program. In some situations, volunteer experts may be asked to assist.
If a program is satisfactory, members will be so advised and records returned.
If a program is found to be unsatisfactory, a request for improvement may be made and a reasonable amount of time given for that improvement. If a follow-up audit is also unsatisfactory, the case may be referred for further action. At this point, all existing procedures of investigation, discipline and appeal will come into effect.
Submitted records will be held in confidence and returned at the end of the audit process. If a program involves proprietary information, further arrangements will be made to ensure confidentiality.
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