To ensure that graduates gain the most from their training and progress at the desired rate, a rigorous planning, reporting and review system is required which includes the development of workplace training plans and regular reports that are assessed by the candidate, supervisor and mentor. These are required to ensure that training takes place in a systematic fashion and to build up a portfolio of evidence for submission to ECSA.
The key success factors for any organised professional development programme are: a responsive candidate; comprehensive workplace training plans; regular assessment and review of candidate reports; managing issues and constraints; and arranging training and workplace events.
Assessments are required to determine the level of responsibility achieved, reflect on the activities the candidate has participated in, and assessing the development of each of the 11 outcomes. With this insight, mentors and supervisors working with candidates are able to plan further experiences to contribute towards professional development and eventual registration. These assessments need to be done regularly to ensure the candidates progress at the desired rate.
Review of statutory reports and assignments
At the completion of each period of experience, candidates must report in the format required by each Professional Body or Statutory Council. The reports must reviewed/approved by the supervisor and mentor after each period, as it is difficult for candidates to recollect their experiences and obtain signatures when reports are not compiled and stored on an ongoing basis.
Candidates should be given assignments which are set by the mentor or supervisor and are specific to the workplace activities, to supplement their experiential training and initial professional development. These must be assessed, and candidates must be given feedback on the success and quality of such assignments for planning of additional work and/or further assignments.
Issue and event management
Not all work and training environments are ideal to develop candidates professionally. Issues such as candidate behaviour, work environment, logistics, meaningful engineering work and access to engineering tools often play a role in candidates’ progress. Given the tight timelines set in many programmes for registration, it is essential that issues are identified, escalated and resolved timeously.
Initial professional development
During the candidate phase, candidates need to attend workshops and courses or any other events that will contribute to their development. These should be relevant to workplace experiences at the time, to be of maximum benefit. Records of training should be retained for discussion with mentors and are to be included in the final application for registration.
Communication is key at all levels to ensure that candidates’ progress and constraints are continuously communicated to management.
Given all the activities, interaction and reports which must be managed, SAICE-PDP has developed a web-based system, known as MyRegistrationâ„¢.
This portal allows mentors to assess candidates, plan their training, and review and report on their progress. Candidates can upload reports which mentors can view and comment on. The process is iterative until the mentor is happy with the report. The software includes the ability to raise issues and initiate assignments, and offers a range of management reports to allow senior executives and human resources to monitor progress.