Terri-Jane Yuzda

Ambitious APEGGA Opinion Survey Begins



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,

Please Note:
National Survey Also Under Way

Two 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."


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 the province.

"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," she says.

"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 expectations.

"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.

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