In 2012, Engineers and Geoscientists BC launched an online competency-based assessment (CBA) system for evaluating its engineering applicants. There are now over 6,000 applicants and engineers-in-training reporting experience through the system, and over 1,600 professional engineers have registered in this way.
When it comes online this spring, a new tool will enable other engineering regulators in Canada to use Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s CBA system for the evaluation of engineering experience for registration.
This is the result of a multi-year, pan-Canadian CBA project supported by Engineers Canada and a steering committee of interested engineering regulators in several provinces. In the current phase of this project, the online competency assessment system developed by Engineers and Geoscientists BC is being adapted for use by other regulators in Canada. According to Jim Landrigan, P.Eng., Executive Director and Registrar of Engineers PEI, “It’s nice to have a competency-based system that is uniform in more provinces, and it will allow for easier transfers of EITs’ [engineers-in-trainings] work experience. In addition, the online system replaces an old paper-based system that is not user-friendly to today’s generation of EITs.”
CBA for geoscience experience is under development in a separate project, and its implementation is being planned for the future.
What Will Change About the BC System?
For BC users, only the look of the system will be different, according to Don Gamble, the association’s Director of Information Systems. All of the users’ information will move to the new system, and people will use the same user ID and password they’ve always used to access the system. The look will be different because the system will no longer be part of the Engineers and Geoscientists BC main website and will be rebranded with the name Competency Assessment.
The branding change means that the URL to access the system will change to competencyassessment.ca, the look and feel of colours and menus will change, and emails will come from the new website. Functionally, how applicants and EITs use the system to report their competencies will remain identical.
Rebranding will be the first change, but the association’s Information Systems department will continue to make incremental enhancements to the system through a series of additional releases.
Regulators partnering with the BC association to utilize the system will do so under an Internet Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and after the final release is implemented will be billed on a per assessment basis. Participating regulators won’t have the costs of installing, maintaining, and enhancing the software, and all participants will benefit from the economy of scale associated with a larger user base. They will also benefit from using a single system that will simplify and standardize the business processes of all partnering regulators with respect to assessment of competency.
What’s Happening Next
Competencyassessment.ca is expected to be live this spring for BC users. Engineers PEI and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan are expected to be among the first regulators to adopt the new online tool. Benefits to using a common system to evaluate experience on a pan-Canadian basis include the potential to improve ease of mobility for engineers-in-training between provinces and territories. The online system also allows applicants and EITs to self-assess their readiness for professional engineer registration or licence and to easily report and validate their experience from anywhere in the world.
It also enables employers to align their training programs with the required competencies, and it allows regulators to evaluate applicants with more robust and consistent licensure decisions.
Most of all, it makes assessment more objective, transparent, and consistent and increases the confidence of all who participate in the process, including applicants, validators, employers, and assessors.