On the 3rd of March, AQPE celebrated a webinar inside the Professional Engineer Series, the periodic events that they host to spread the word about the professional certification. The webinar had outstanding guests like Xavier Ferrè (industrial engineer and UPC professor) and Joaquín Rubio (industrial engineer and head of Human Resources in companies like Cofidis).
The event started with the presentation of the campaign “Accept the challenge of the Professional Engineer Race”. Its objective is to compare the necessary efforts and dedication in the career of an engineer with the career of an elite athlete. Later on, the certification was explained as the accreditation of an independent organization that ensures an engineer has certain knowledge, experience, and personal abilities.
“The Professional Engineer certification is like a long-distance race, because of the experiences and competencies they accumulate day by day”. Francesc González (AQPE CEO).
The Professional Engineer certification is open to engineers of any specialty, and consists of 3 levels: Professional, Senior, Expert). Through this methodology, it resembles the practices that other organizations are carrying through in countries like France, Italy, or the UK. We have adopted the UK-SPEC, a professional competencies recognition model born in the UK, to evaluate the engineers that are interested in being certified. This model recognizes 5 competencies: knowledge about engineering, design and development skills, leadership, soft skills, and professional commitment.
We must highlight the added value that the certification offers internationally because it’s equated with the Chartered and Incorporated Engineer, certifications from the UK and the Netherlands. At the same time, negotiations are being held for accreditation agreements with France, Italy, and Portugal, to increase the mobility of the certification at a European scale.
They also talked about one of the main objectives of the certification: differentiating between those engineers that once they graduated, they moved on to different career paths, and those who remained working on engineering their whole careers. The certification becomes a clear differentiating element between those two types of professionals.
Joaquín Rubio talked about his experience in the departments of Human Resources of many companies. He explained that they just wanted to find the “best professionals”, but without a clear way to differentiate between candidates other than their degrees, grades, or another complementary educational background. Some companies even measured the IQ of the candidates or performed Rorschach tests. After passing through all these stages, Joaquín realized that all these companies had the same objective: finding the most competent person, because competencies gather all the necessary elements to determine one person’s aptitudes: their knowledge, abilities, soft skills, values, and experiences.
“Thanks to certifications like the one AQPE offers, companies have at last a direct and safe way to differentiate between the most competent applicants for a job”. Joaquín Rubio
«I’ve been able to verify that the Professional Engineer certification increased my professional exposure and assurance towards potential clients, besides helping me prove my specialty» Xavier Ferrè
Xavier Ferrè, Atoms’ CEO, focused his participation on explaining how the certification has helped him to increase the exposure of his company on a national and international level. He explained a problem that he had on a trip that he made to Central America, not too long ago from forming Atoms. The main issue was that the companies in those countries didn’t understand what it meant to be an industrial engineer in Spain, because this certificate has a more restricted meaning there than in Europe. Thanks to the clear certification of his competencies that the certification offered him, he was able to expand his organization to countries like Panamá or Haití, because he was able to prove to their governments that he was an engineer fully able of working on the projects that they needed him on. Some of his best works have been the Haití State College Hospital or the Rafael Hernandez de Chiriquí Hospital, the second largest in the country.
Xavier explains that it would have been impossible for him to work on those projects without the certification, because it was the most important tool that he used when he needed to expose his competencies to the Panamanian authorities, due to the differences between both continents’ degrees. At the same time, he explained to us how being a Professional Engineer pushed his career on a national level, because it caused an increase of Atoms’ contracts with both public and private parties, due to having his competencies certified by an external agency.
In this webinar, we have been able to verify that the Professional Engineer certification is the perfect tool for the professional differentiation of engineers, and a turning point for the growth of their careers, not only nationally but internationally. Because of that, AQPE encourages you to accept the challenge, and become a Professional Engineer.