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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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• Participants challenged the instructor on the above issues, but their claims were sloughed off and their questions left unanswered, with the instructor making excuses for any wrongdoing. When confronted by participants, neither the instructor nor the provider acknowledged any wrongdoing. Several emails and phone calls ensued, with participants demanding the opportunity to file an official complaint and requesting compensation for being misled by false advertising. Their demands and requests were ignored. All of this emphasizes the need for professional members to do their homework—however, this isn’t just a case of caveat emptor. This case study highlights a need among members for assistance in monitoring the quality and accuracy of CPD courses. It appears that providers can hide behind a corporate veil, provide subpar CPD courses to professional members, charge the same amount that other higher-quality course providers charge, and get away with it. This is not to say that all such providers are illegitimate. For those that are, however, there is little to stop them from reaping financial rewards from mandatory CPD reporting while providing nothing of value. This poses problems for associations and their members. On one hand, professional associations are required to regulate continuing professional development. On the other hand, professional members are required to uphold their Code of Ethics , which includes incorporating CPD and ongoing training in their careers, as required by legislation. But if no one regulates third-party providers, and professional associations are not reviewing all CPD programs, what is stopping professional members from simply purchasing CPD hours without receiving any actual benefit? Doesn’t this undermine our professional practice and our service to the public interest? Timm Stein, P.Eng., is Civil/Structural Manager and a principal with T2M Engineering Ltd. in Calgary. Aaron Gerein (P.Eng.-SK), Planning and Design Engineer, works for the Government of Saskatchewan in Regina.

most cases, none the wiser. This is fantastic for those who want to open a business and reap financial reward from mandatory CPD—while forgoing morals and the ethics APEGA and its sister associations promote and uphold. The following example demonstrates this issue. Several professional engineers registered for a course offered by the third-party provider. The course description was very detailed and claimed to provide extensive background with examples, and it was taught by an experienced, Canadian-licensed professional engineer with more than 10 years of expertise in the relevant field. The course appeared legitimate and valuable, based on its offerings. However, the opposite turned out to be true. Following is a short summary of what the course turned out to be. • The quality of the material was subpar at best. • The instructor merely flipped through a slide presentation without going into necessary detail. • Several topics promised in the course syllabus were not delivered. • Detailed practical examples were plagued with half- solutions. • References to proprietary software were made throughout the course—none of it explained in detail. • The final answer to example questions was given, but calculations supporting the answer remained invisible. • Recordings to supplement lecture notes were not provided—meaning that participants wanting supplementary material were limited by how quickly they could take notes. • The total length of the course was a fraction of what was advertised. • The instructor littered the course with advertisements, touting solutions and other consulting services from their own consulting firm.

16 | PEG FALL 2018

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