Know you CPD and avoid scammers
Compulsory CPD for renewal of registration was instituted by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) in 2006 in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act 46 of 2000).
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) was introduced for all registered persons in order to:
- Ensure, through the creation of a culture of CPD, that all registered persons maintain their competence throughout their period of registration.
- Meet the requirements of the Act.
- Be the acceptable means for renewal of registration.
- Meet the requirements for recognition of ECSA’s assessment process with regard to international agreements.
- Ensure that those South African registered professionals meet the requirements for their continued international registration.
SAICE is one of the leaders in the field when it comes to the approval of CPD activities, and this quick update is intended to provide you with some clarifications on frequently asked questions and useful tips on how to claim your credits.
How do I know if an activity has been approved for CPD credits?
ECSA has given approval to voluntary associations that are recognised as such in terms of the Act as well as to accredited tertiary educational institutions to run activities that will be acknowledged for obtaining CPD credits.
Each activity in category 1, including conferences, congresses, workshops, lectures, seminars, courses and refresher courses, will require a unique CPD validation number, which must be quoted when recording the activity for CPD.
The CPD validation number will commence with the name of the voluntary association that validated the specific event. SAICE selected the following method of numbering: SAICEGeo06/00001/09 (SAICE followed by a specialised field code; then the year of validation; the unique validation number; and the expiry date of the validation). The full list of activities will be accessible on the ECSA website: www.ecsa.co.za and those validated by SAICE will be available on the SAICE website: www.saice.org.za.
When a CPD activity does not appear on one of these lists, how can I be sure that it has in fact been approved or will be approved?
All voluntary associations recognised by ECSA in terms of the Act as well as accredited tertiary institutions have been approved by ECSA to provide CPD activities. SAICE, however, has a responsibility to ensure that the activities that are validated by the institution are of adequate standard. The SAICE Education and Training panel implemented a pilot system for validating activities.
Members can be assured that a CPD activity provided by SAICE or one of the organisations approved for CPD events by SAICE will be acceptable for the ECSA system. SAICE is not a newcomer to the CPD environment. In the event that an activity does not meet the criteria, members will be informed that this event did not conform to SAICE standards.
At this early stage, the validation number for a specific event may not be available in advance or on advertising material, but members will be able to access and update their CPD portfolio after the event. Providers who submit activities for validation will be told as soon as possible of the status of validation and will inform delegates accordingly.
During the pilot phase, members should use the SAICE list of CPD events as published to ensure that they meet the CPD criteria. However, for CPD events that are currently in the pipeline and are being offered before validation numbers have been allocated, attendees will have to go back to the website at a later stage to ascertain whether these events have been validated. At this stage, we do not see any major reasons that these CPD activities would not be approved. The full ECSA list will be available in due course.
What about activities of voluntary associations that are not recognised by ECSA?
A number of smaller voluntary organisations may not meet the technical criteria for recognition by ECSA. SAICE does recognise that there are organisations that have been providing valuable service for a number of years. For example, SARF, SAISC, C&CI, WISA and others are respected members of our professional community. In terms of CPD, SAICE will treat these organisations in the same way as our branches and divisions.
How are conferences validated?
Conferences can only be validated if the SAICE panel has had an opportunity to review the proceedings. The nature of conferences means that the material will be validated retrospectively in most cases. Where copies of presentations are available in advance, validation could be done before the event. However, conference proceedings may be submitted for validation after the event has taken place. Members are again urged to check the validated lists on ECSA and SAICE websites before and after conferences that they attend. All organisations are encouraged to validate conferences, since this type of event often constitutes a valuable source of CPD. Members are encouraged to ask conference organisers whether they intend to validate the conference.
How do I register attendance of a CPD activity on the ECSA website?
It is important to note that you should log your updated information onto the website at least annually in your CPD cycle. If you attend a course in January, you can enter this information on your portfolio at any time in that year. If the activity was validated and you attended before the expiry date of validation, you will receive the CPD credits for it.