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Ecsa Personal Development Plan Outline

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The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) is the statutory body designated to regulate the engineering profession and the activities of all engineers operating within the country, in order to maintain both proficient work standards and professional conduct. This is ultimately necessary to ensure the safety and good interests of the public, whilst also ensuring the promotion of the integrity of the professional engineering community. This is accomplished through a system of registration, accreditation and regulation.

As such, all engineers intending to work are required to register with ECSA before practising. This is done in three stages:

  1. Education
  1. The engineer in question must attain education and training. This is accomplished through formal means of study, such as a BEng, BSc(Eng) or a BTech from an accredited education institution.
  1. Candidate Engineer
  1. An engineering graduate must then apply to ECSA for the status of candidate engineer, where the engineer must perform complex engineering activities under the supervision of a professional engineer. This aims to provide the candidate engineer with experience in the field under the ‘safety-net’ of an accomplished engineer.
  1. Professional Engineer
  1. After a minimum of three years as a candidate, the engineer may present the work accomplished to ECSA for endorsement. If the work done is considered sufficiently complex, varied and appropriate to the field, the candidate is promoted to the level of Professional Engineer, where they may practice independently of a supervisor.

Although still in the education section of the process, it is of value to make sufficient preparations for the inevitable future in the form of a personal development plan. Hereafter contains a broad outline of some realistic goals and means to achieve such. (Kruger, 2015)

Phase One: Graduation                                July 2016 – December 2016

The first step towards becoming an engineering professional is to graduate and receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. Due to the turbulent nature of balancing university life and social development, the path thus far has extended the program beyond the original 4 years. Due to uncertainties in the upcoming courses, graduation shall either occur in July 2016 or in December 2016. This plan is organised to account for either situation.

Phase Two: Candidate Engineer                        July 2016 – December 2019

Upon graduation, it is necessary to register as a candidate engineer. This entails submitting of an application to ECSA with the request for candidate engineer status. Having received a degree from the University of Pretoria, which is a registered and accredited institution, there should be no delay in the processing of the request.

The request will consist of:

  • The application form E1.1 and E1.2, with signatures, as well as a signature from a commissioner of oaths (approach the banks for a commissioner of oaths).
  • Certified copy of the BEng Degree acquired at the University of Pretoria
  • The required fees payable

The request will then be forwarded to the relevant committee by ECSA. Once the committee comes to a decision, they will send a certificate of registration, as well as confirmation of registration in writing. (ECSA, 2015). Following registration, the next requirement is to begin work at the company which provided a bursary for the studies. The company is large, and does have a candidate engineering programme.

The candidate engineering programme is designed to allow for sufficient opportunity to meaningfully engage in the work environment, whilst also exposing the candidates to various parts of the company. Generally, a candidate is assigned a ‘project’ or department for rotations of six months. In these six months, the candidate will be assigned a supervisor and mentor, although these parts may be carried out by the same person. Throughout the lifespan of the project, the candidate is expected to perform a variety of complex engineering activities, from investigative and problem identification activities right through to project completion and professional presentations of the project.

The candidate will receive support from their supervisor at the start of each rotation, as the candidate is both new to the engineering field and to the specific workings of the department. However, as the project moves on, the supervisor will offer less and less support and force the candidate to start acting more independently, thereby preparing them for their role as professional engineer.

After each 6 of these rotations, there is a need to compile a portfolio of all the activities, tasks, trainings, inductions, responsibilities, challenges, and solutions encountered during that rotation. This will ultimately add up to a complete professional portfolio, which is key for stage 3.

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