The professional certification of engineers has been carried out for decades in the UK and France. In these countries thousands of professionals are certified according to a model that understands the need for training to practice the profession, but also the need for professional skills to accredit professional performance from the point of view of behaviors and attitudes. This way, the practice of engineering is respected, according to the codes of conduct, the safety of people, sustainable development and the exercise of responsibilities from an impeccable professional ethic.
In the group of engineering professionals many of these values are assumed, but there is no doubt that in the face of the proliferation of engineering degrees, the confusion created by Bologna and the different ways of practicing the profession, a reference pattern is required. Thus, we will distinguish between a PROFESSIONAL level with at least four years of experience, a SENIOR level with 8 and an EXPERT level with at least sixteen and the competencies required for each of these three levels..
And when we talk about competencies, it is worth explaining that certification reaches those competencies, transversal, which are not traditionally associated with the engineering profession in a specific way, and which have to do with a good communication, leadership or of management of material and human resources.
Opinions of HR Directors
The companies also value the certification of their technicians and that is why we wanted to gather the opinion of management experts in the field of people management, such as Juliana Vilert, director of Organization and People of Railways of the Generalitat de Catalonia , which tells us about its experience in this regard:
“At FGC, we have been basing people management on the management of their talent for some time. And we understand by talent that equation that multiplies professional skills by the commitment of our people. For this reason it is very important to have perfectly identified skills, which we do not want to be limited to technical skills, but also those that are required in environments where ethics, responsibility, collaborative work, innovation and leadership are criticism “.
“At FGC for some time now we have been basing people management on the management of their talent “Juliana Vilert. Director of Organization and People of FGC
In fact, the commitment made by each company that decides to certify the skills of its technicians goes further as it responds to the need to “explain” the values of the company itself and that is why Ramon Terrassa , historical director of HR at ABB , tells us:
“Professional certification is a very interesting way to highlight the skills and abilities of our technicians, which are ultimately the skills and abilities of our companies”Ramon Terraza. HR Director at ABB
Regarding the value of professional certification as part of a Curriculum Vitae, when we are candidates for a position or promotion within the company itself, Vanessa Rodríguez, director of human capital development at LEITAT Technological Center, thinks that:
“The fact that the engineers have a certification of competences, supposes a guarantee of success in order to obtain professional solvency since the certifications contribute value added so much by the candidates, that can evidence and accredit the domain of a technical knowledge for to a specific job, as for companies, in terms of attracting talent and appropriate profiles according to their needs.“
The fact that engineers have a certification of competencies, is a guarantee of success in order to obtain professional solvencyVanessa Rodríguez, director of human capital development at LEITAT Technological Center
Ramon Terraza continues:
“Industrial companies and especially those that are at the forefront of innovation require much more skills such as interest, curiosity or the ability to integrate different disciplines and solve complex problems, than knowledge or experience itself, which in many cases will be necessary, but no longer sufficient”,
And in line with our reality today, without a doubt, in an increasingly complex scenario, to which has been added a new factor of uncertainty, disruptive and unexpected such as COVID19.
We must not forget that companies also value, more and more, the how, in addition to the what. And there is talk not only of results but also of value added, not only to shareholders but to the whole set of elements that make up their environment, such as the workers themselves, customers, suppliers and society in general.
Companies want to achieve results, but not in any way. Even the largest American companies agreed to this when they signed the central document of the so-called Business Round Table , last summer, in which they pledged to deliver value to their customers, to invest in their employees, to promote diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect, to treat their suppliers fairly and ethically, to support the communities in which they work and all this while protecting the environment and adopting practices sustainable in all its businesses, in addition, it is clear to generate long-term value for its shareholders.
In this sense, and to ensure that each and every one of our collaborators is aligned with these values, Vanessa Rodriguez tells us that:
“Certification bodies play a very important role for professionals and companies, as they value skills that are rarely guaranteed by training and not even by experience”.
In this sense, Juliana Vilert also focuses on the need for these certifications to be carried out through rigorous procedures and prestigious organizations, such as those we have mentioned, following the ISO 17024 certification of people, which also provides the l ‘own objectivity of an independent organization of the company.
In Europe, we are following the same path and agreeing with organizations such as,
- SNIPF in France,
- Engineering Council in the UK,
- CNI in Italy,
- Order 2 Engineers to Portugal,
- Kivi to Netherlands,
- AIPE and AQPE in Spain
and we have set up a European Alliance of Engineer @ Competence Certification Organizations, under the name ENGINET . The constitution of this alliance took place in Paris on May 5, and highlights the unstoppable trend and paradigm shift that we have been explaining since the beginning of this article.
The AQPE Foundation, set up in 2012 by professional engineering colleges of all specialties, meets these requirements as well as being a non-profit organization at the service of engineering professionals, looking after of the colleges that compose it by the excellence of the profession and to facilitate the international mobility thanks to the agreements of recognition signed with the majority of the international organizations before mentioned.
Companies that have decided to certify their professionals (see some of them in this link) know that loyalty to the company goes through many values such as communication, professional perspectives, consideration and a respectful and flexible treatment with their collaborators, characteristics that all these organizations have in common.
In short, the Professional Engineer certification, increasingly recognized by companies, administrations and professionals, becomes a tool of distinction and visibility, also internationally for our professional engineers.Francesc González, Director of the AQPE Foundation