BY GEORGE LEE
APEGGA has embarked on an ambitious opinion survey of members
and key stakeholders - one that will establish new benchmarks
of what members want from their association, while providing
staff with critical information for strategic planning. The
survey, conducted by E.M. Ashmore and Associates Inc. of Calgary,
National Survey Also Under Way
opinion surveys are taking place at the same time. The
second one is the National Survey of the Canadian Engineering
Profession 2002, which is designed to identify trends
that may influence engineering education, training or
licensure, and how engineers will work in the future.
March was the launch date for the survey, being conducted
by EKOS Research Associates Ltd. on behalf of the Canadian
Council of Professional Engineers and Human Resources
Development Canada. Most active members of Canada's
12 engineering licensing associations/ordre are being
asked to respond, including geoscientists and engineers-in-training.
For the first time, CCPE is conducting the survey on-line,
although a paper format is available. Visit the CCPE
site at www.ccpe.ca
for further information.
will reach far more people than the last two surveys, and
it's structured to make five distinct groups of the membership
heard. In all, 1,000 interviews of engineers, geologists,
geophysicists, students and permit holders will be conducted,
compared with 400, unsegmented interviews in the previous
surveys in 1993 and 1998.
"By segmenting the members this way, APEGGA will be able
to compare and contrast the member segments against each other
to see similarities and differences between them," explains
Eileen Ashmore of E.M. Ashmore and Associates. "This
year's survey gives voice to each of the member segments."
The survey continues until May 10, and Ms Ashmore encourages
any members contacted to take part. "This is one of many
ways for members to communicate and connect with their Association,"
she says. "Member opinions and recommendations are important
in assisting APEGGA in connecting and aligning with its members,
to fulfill its legislated mandate and to fulfill its role
as a professional association. With this input and feedback,
the Association will feel confident that it has the support
to take on new initiatives, or confirm that current operations
and initiatives are well received by members.
"I would encourage every member who is randomly selected
to participate and speak out on the perceptions and expectations
of his or her profession. My firm will do the best it can
to schedule interviews with members at convenient times."
In his last column in The PEGG, Neil Windsor, P.Eng., APEGGA's
executive director and registrar, also emphasized the importance
of the survey. "APEGGA needs to know its members well
in order to plan effectively," Mr. Windsor wrote. "We
must have credible facts and statistics on current levels
of awareness, understanding, knowledge, attitudes, perceptions
and opinions of APEGGA, and its role, mandate, operations
and member services."
"THIS YEAR'S SURVEY GIVES VOICE TO EACH OF THE MEMBER
SEGMENTS" Eileen Ashmore
E.M. Ashmore and Associates went to focus groups in late
March to help in "shaping the survey instruments,"
says Ms Ashmore. "All the focus groups, from engineers
to permit holders to students, provided valuable and insightful
feedback. I'd like to thank these members, because their feedback
was excellent and has helped shape the survey instrument from
the member point of view."
Creating the survey was a challenge, given the make-up and
size of APEGGA. "APEGGA has a diverse membership by profession,
by professional specialization and by tenure. In addition,
members work in many different industry sectors and they work
in many different geographic locations," says Ms Ashmore.
In fact, about 20 per cent of APEGGA's members work outside
"With a membership as large and diverse as this, one
major challenge is to design a survey instrument where the
highest percentage of members have the opportunity to respond
in meaningful ways to most of the questions, but are also
able to respond to issues and concerns that are very specific
to their circumstances, within the practice of their profession,"
"Another challenge, with a diverse membership base, is
to query members on complex topics and issues in a succinct
way, so that members can provide meaningful and valuable input
that APEGGA can use in its operations and future planning.
If this challenge is met, the research findings have practical
applications because they become actionable."
In addition to the membership survey, two other surveys are
also taking place. One will be in-depth interviews with 50
employers and the other will survey the general Alberta public.
These will help APEGGA understand the perceptions these groups
have about the Association and its professions, Ms Ashmore
says. "Comparing and contrasting these different stakeholders'
perceptions, to offer APEGGA a fully rounded view of its role
and operations, will be challenging as well."
The 2002 survey will provide the Association "with members'
perceptions and expectations of APEGGA's role, and this will
assist APEGGA in clarifying its role and activities in the
future," says Ms Ashmore. "The survey will assist
APEGGA in strategic planning, because it will give APEGGA
the opportunity to determine whether to add, modify or delete
discretionary functions, services and initiatives as per member
"The survey will query members as to new and emerging
developments, so APEGGA will be aware of these developments
and can address them as applicable. It will also assist APEGGA
in obtaining fresh ideas from members for enhancing and promoting
the visibility of the three professions within the current
business and regulatory environment."
If members still need a reason to take part if they're contacted,
here's one: doing so qualifies as professional development,
under the participation category.