Professional Development Programs
By Christine Smith
Coordinator, APEGGA Continuing
Professional Development Program.
While the Continuing Professional Development Program has been the primary focus of the Professional Development Department, APEGGA manages three professional development programs aimed at different membership segments. Following is a highlight of program components.
University Student Program
Student Liaison Committee representatives at both the University of Alberta and The University of Calgary are members of the engineering, geology and geophysics faculties, the respective student societies and APEGGA. The Committees goal is to stimulate student interest in and understanding of APEGGA as their professional Association, provide opportunities to interact with professional members and assist in student professional development. Funding is provided directly to the student societies to assist them in planning their own events. Jointly, several other events are coordinated.
For several years, both engineering faculties at the universities have offered, with APEGGAs assistance, a fourth-year course on the Practice of the Professions. Commencing fall 1999, geoscience students at the University of Alberta will more formally receive the same information, albeit, in a different format. It is hoped that The University of Calgary will follow suit.
Through Get Hired Workshops, U of A students obtain feedback on their résumés, learn networking skills and practice interviewing techniques. This year, they are scheduled for Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 (See notice this page). U of C Counselling Services provides students with either individual or workshop settings where they can learn these skills. Professional members assist through the provision of industry overviews and by interviewing students. The constructive feedback for students on their skills and recognition of areas for improvement allow students to further develop these transferable skills.
Twice a year, Student Mixers are organized to give students the chance to meet professional members and technical society representatives. While the event has been very informal, the U of C Counselling Services has offered to provide an overview to students on networking prior to the next event, Oct 7. The U of A Student Mixer is scheduled for Oct. 14. The Committee is looking for ways to enhance these events to better meet the needs of students, technical societies and professional members.
As a culmination to the fourth-year course, graduating students are invited to attend a workshop and luncheon preceding the Iron and Earth Ring ceremonies. Case studies on registration, enforcement and ethics are discussed. Ring Workshops were attended by more than 1,000 students over the past year. With anticipated increases of student enrolment, these events will continue to grow. The workshops are scheduled for Nov. 21 in Calgary and Dec. 5 in Edmonton.
Professional members are encouraged to attend these functions to promote the professions and provide support to students.
The Professional Development Committee has diligently worked throughout the last year to revise the Member-in-Training (M.I.T.) Guideline. Now finalized, the new guideline will be introduced this fall. Changes reflect the addition of a six-month follow-up after graduation to encourage review of the information distributed at the Ring Workshop. Implementation of a two-year follow-up allows M.I.T.s reaching the midway point of their work experience, to request a review if there are any concerns that the experience may not be meeting the requirements. At the two-year mid-point, M.I.T.s are reminded that they are eligible to write the Professional Practice Exam.
Also at the midway point, the Continuing Professional Development Guideline will be forwarded in preparation for the reporting commencing after registration as a professional member. In applying for professional membership, M.I.T.s will be expected to submit a Continuing Professional Development Plan for their first year as a professional. Once professional status is granted, new members are required to report their practicing status, industries of practice and areas of specialization. Reporting of Professional Development Hours commences on the first anniversary of registration.
A Member Induction Ceremony, introduced in 1995, celebrates the achievement of attaining professional status. New members are introduced, a senior member of the profession speaks, an oath is recited and the event is followed by a reception. This event is held four times a year in Calgary and twice a year in Edmonton. This fall, the events are scheduled Sept. 23 and 24 in Calgary and Oct. 6 in Edmonton.
In 1997, the Practice of the Professions Seminar was introduced to residents graduating from outside Alberta. The seminar is modelled after the fourth-year university course. Components cover registration, Code of Ethics, discipline, enforcement, professional development, practice standards and member services. Offered twice yearly, the next sessions are Oct. 21 in Edmonton and Oct. 28 in Calgary.
Professional Member Program
Representation on the Edmonton Association of Technical Societies Committee has been assigned to the Professional Development Department. Discussion and activity is underway to strengthen the relationship with engineering, geology and geophysics-related technical societies. In the last year, many societies were asked how APEGGA could provide assistance to help them do a better job. Opportunities exist to co-sponsor events, to foster better interaction and to learn from all members.
Professional Development Days are held in both Edmonton and Calgary. Subject areas are usually chosen from attendee feedback. If there are subject areas you would like to see offered, please feel free to contact us. Fall dates are Nov. 16 in Calgary and Nov. 24 in Edmonton.
Fort McMurray will be hosting a PD Day Sept. 29. The subjects are professional liability, effective speaking, project management and the management of engineers.
A two-day PD program will be organized as part of APEGGAs Annual Conference scheduled in Calgary for April 21 through 23, 1999. One day is dedicated to technical subjects, that we hope that the technical societies will take a lead role in coordinating, and the second day will be dedicated to non-technical subjects, coordinated primarily by APEGGA. The planning committee is looking for both volunteers and suggestions. If you have an interest in becoming involved with this event, your contribution would be welcomed.
The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program has completed the first phase of implementation with all professional members in receipt of a CPD Questionnaire. Based on member feedback, improvements to the questionnaire continue. Industry of Practice and Area of Specialization codes are being expanded to more accurately reflect what our members do. If you have misplaced the copy of the CPD Guideline, it can be found on the website www.apegga.org under Professional Development.
Member acceptance and understanding of the program have been closely monitored with contact and follow-up made with between 4,000 and 5,000 members. Development of the formalized audit and review process is under way. The process is scheduled for Council consideration during the first quarter of 1999.
A few members have expressed concerns about availability of courses. The program requirements are for 240 Professional Development Hours over three years, with activities in three of the six categories. Therefore, how you choose to acquire professional development activities should be based on your preferred learning style and schedule. The most important thing to remember about the program is that it is flexible. You are responsible for developing your own program to maintain and enhance your skills. While taking courses is one option, there are other ways to learn which may address your preferences.
Since last year, two training sessions for CPD Seminar presenters were held. This committed group of volunteers assisted APEGGA communicate program requirements to more than 3,400 members through 136 seminars. Thank you to all volunteers for support of this initiative.
If you have a question about Professional Development events, or if you are looking for some clarification on the Continuing Professional Development Program, you are invited to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, Calgary 262-7714, Edmonton 426-3990 or 1-800-661-7020.P