Focus on member benefits
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Our series on member benefits continues this month with IOM3 Director of Professional Development and Membership, Ian Bowbrick, talking about Competent Person Registration (CPR) and some of the opportunities the Institute makes available to its members.
When IOM3 talks about CPR most members will probably shrug their shoulders and look puzzled. If on the other hand we mention Chartership, most will know exactly what we are talking about and may have joined to become qualified. CPR opportunities through the Institute are, however, far broader than just becoming Chartered, although the basis of application for others is similar, or can be done in parallel.
Registration as a professional engineer, scientist or environmentalist
Historically, this has been the major work stream of professional bodies and it remains so for some whose sectors are required to have a registered professional workforce. Qualification involves the successful peer review of evidence submitted by an individual about their work and commitment to professional standards. This is measured against a set of competences defined by a regulator – for engineers this is the Engineering Council, for environmentalists, the Society for the Environment, and for scientists, the Science Council. The Institute holds licences from these bodies to assess and approve individuals for admission to the various registers operated by these regulators. It can register members as chartered engineers, environmentalists or scientists, incorporated engineers and registered scientists, and engineering or registered science technicians.
The level of registration that an individual may apply for is defined by both their academic qualifications and the work experience they have accumulated. Those at the Chartered level will be Masters’ degree qualified and have attained a role where they lead creative or innovative practice, introduce or pioneer new science, technology or practices. Those at the Incorporated or Registered level will be Bachelors’ degree level qualified (engineers) or RQF Level 5 qualified (scientists) and will have attained a role where they manage and apply current and developing science, technology and practices. Those at the Technician level will be RQF Level 3 qualified, working in a role where they solve technical or scientific problems and deliver services or work programmes. While competency development is individual and dependent on the working opportunities that someone has been exposed to, it is recommended that applications for Chartership are underpinned by four-five years working experience, three years for Incorporated or Registered level, and two years for Technician registration.
While this type of professional registration is hierarchical, there is no reason why a member cannot develop their career and seek registration at a higher level once they have gained the necessary experience and qualifications. The Institute is committed to the progression of its members and has been pleased to see a number of members work their way through all the levels to achieve Chartered registration.
So why bother to be professionally registered at all? There are some sectors within the Institute outreach where CPR is required and those working in these enjoy a structured career path to support them. For others where such drivers do not exist, it is a personal choice and more often than not they cite the enhanced career potential, or career capital, it will give them. Recent registrants have cited how they see CPR as supporting their currency in the uncertain workplace of the 21st Century as the impact of Industry 4.0 and the added challenge of the UK re-establishing its place in the world order following Brexit takes effect.
I am very often met with the argument that it takes too much time to apply and the process is complicated. Achieving CPR is an investment in your career, so what price do you place upon that? As an experienced practitioner if you already have a CV which you can expand to give examples of the work you have done, one of which you can elaborate upon and present, have an up-to-date CPD record and plan of future activity, and two referees who can verify your credentials, you have the content of an application. The Institute can provide you with the support to format your application either through a 1:1 mentor or by one of the monthly workshops held at the Institute offices or other locations by arrangement. As a newly qualified practitioner, we have a log book you can use to record your experience in real time and depending on your circumstances appoint you a mentor to support your development.
The peer review process is conducted by trained volunteers qualified with the same or a level of registration above that being applied for. At the Chartered level, this involves an interview which can be done face-to-face or remotely by Skype. From start to finish the application process takes six to eight weeks.
The Institute is also able to offer suitably qualified members access to certain specialised registers or accreditation to undertake specialist roles.
IOM3 is a member of the Ground Forum, an organisation that represents professional bodies and trade associations within the ground engineering discipline (RoGEP). Given the professional, environmental, societal and financial magnitude of related projects, the Ground Forum recognises the need to maintain a register to support external stakeholders and other professionals identify competent and specialist practitioners in this discipline. Members from this discipline can apply for admission to the RoGEP concurrently with their application for engineering CPR, or later in their career. If the latter route is chosen, a separate application measuring attributes is required. Job advertisements and invitations to tender frequently require RoGEP recognition and the Institute recommends such registration to its respective members.
Mineral resource and reserve reporting
The Institute is a Recognised Professional Organisation under the CRIRSCO International Reporting Template for the public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and mineral reserves. Professional membership grades enable holders to sign off public reports against a number of the international reporting codes, including NI 43-101, JORC and PERC. For those unfamiliar with this area of Institute work, these public reports are used to inform financial investment decisions and can have a bearing on other financial variables about a business including their share price. The membership grades in question are Fellow and Professional Member, which have been awarded against a bespoke competency framework and mineral be it, for example, copper or alluvial gold. Application can be made in conjunction with Chartered engineer or Chartered scientist or as a standalone membership grade, although each candidate will be interviewed and the content of the respective application must relate to some aspect of the assessment process. The Institute is one of the professional bodies whose accreditation is a requirement to sign off public reports and maintains its own register of qualified professionals.
I hope what has been described will tempt those of you who have yet to apply for CPR to do so. If you have any questions or would like the support of a Mentor, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org