Earlier this month, The Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 passed the Lower House in the Victorian Government by a resounding 55-22 votes. Now, registration is one step from becoming law in the state of Victoria.
Next week, the Bill will be debated in the Victorian Upper House.
Doctors, lawyers and tradies must register or get a licence to practice their profession, but there is no such requirement for engineers. A registration scheme provides the government and public with the peace of mind that only qualified engineers are making engineering decisions.
The Victorian Government will continue to invest heavily in infrastructure over the next few years to grow our cities and towns. Introducing a registration scheme is a key part of this investment, as the Government spends a record amount on hospitals, road and rail. The point of registration is to identify and exclude non-engineers who have the capacity to put the public at risk when working on these projects. Public safety is paramount, and Government must make sure the right people are doing the job, every step of the way.
If you’ve been working as an engineer for five years or more, you’ll need to be registered. If not, your work will need to be supervised by a registered engineer.
Not only will a scheme assist the Government and public in making informed decisions about which services to engage, but registration will develop your professional identity as an engineer – highlighting your skills and expertise.
At present, anyone in Victoria can call themselves an engineer. A registration scheme serves to protect your professional identity. Only qualified, competent and knowledgeable engineers will be registered, filtering out those who lack the appropriate skills and expertise.
When you register, you will be admitted by the state as a professional engineer, opening the door for more jobs and better pay. In our 2018 Professional Engineers Report, registered engineers reported earnings of up to $25,000 more than their unregistered colleagues.
As well as status, your professional identity is formed by your ongoing commitment to your area of expertise. Should registration pass the Upper House, you will be required to commit to your ongoing development through a minimum log of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours.
It sounds like an extra requirement, however all you really need to do is document any training or development you have done to move up the ladder in your workplace. You may be surprised at how many hours of CPD you do during one single year. You can build your hours through on-the-job learning, seminars, webinars and online courses you have completed. Our RPEng program requires you complete 150 hours over three years, or if you are working part-time or on long-term leave then you can gain those hours over a five-year period.
For many years, Professionals Australia has advocated for a registration scheme that recognises your skills and expertise. We represented the interests of our members who advocated for a scheme to recognise the professional identity of engineers. If the Bill passes, it will be our responsibility to ensure only the best and brightest are registered and secure the future of the profession.