CPD ... How it really works
Since 2006, compulsory CPD for renewal of registration has become a reality.
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 tips on how to claim your credits in this
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
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.
- Log onto the ECSA website: www.ecsa.co.za
- Go to the CPD menu item on the left-hand side of the screen. You will be requested to enter your ECSA registration number and ID number.
- Click on Developmental Activities.
- Then click on the specific item, e.g. course, lecture.
- The validated courses will appear as a 'select from' list.
Note that you can also keep a manual recording system of your CPD activities.
More questions than answers?
Please submit your questions in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or Private Bag x200, Halfway House, 1685. We regret that we cannot handle large volumes of telephone calls for this exercise since many of the questions are generic in nature and take a lot of time to handle individually. We would rather receive a number of questions and send out a compilation of frequently asked questions and answers.
Please remember to read through the ECSA documents on http://www.ecsa.co.za/.
A reality for Engineers (First article in a series)
Several years ago the SAICE Council approved the principle of continuing professional development and, since then, SAICE has encouraged its members to ensure that they keep abreast of developments and knowledge in their areas of expertise in order to maintain their competence. ECSA will institute a system of CPD, starting in 2006, which will be linked to renewal of registration from 1 Jan 2007 for all registered persons according to the policy set out in its policy document. SAICE is excited about the inclusion of membership of a voluntary organisation, which automatically gives members one credit per year. Other services that our "volunteers" do, e.g. mentoring, tertiary accreditation, professional reviews, authoring papers, etc. will also be recognised. This extract aims to give you the background and categories in which CPD will be recognised. The full policy document is available on www.ecsa.co.za.
Section 22(1) of the new Engineering Profession Act 2000 (Act 46 of 2000) requires that a registered person applies for the renewal of his/her registration with ECSA "at least three months prior to the prescribed expiry date of his/her registration". Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will be used as the mechanism to determine renewal of registration giving Council the opportunity to comply with both the renewal of registration and CPD requirements. It is not ECSA's intention to "police" each and every registered person's development, but rather the creation of a culture of CPD.
The international agreements concluded between ECSA and other international engineering bodies also require the maintenance of competence through a system of continuing professional development. South African registered professionals would therefore need to undergo CPD to maintain their international recognition.
After the initial phasing in for the first renewal of registration, CPD will run in 5-year cycles, during which period every registered person will be required to accumulate 25 credits in order to retain registration. In any one year, the registered person will be required to accumulate a minimum of 3 credits. Additional credits earned in any one year may be carried over to the subsequent years of the five year cycle. Details of the different categories of CPD activities are listed below.
The table and note below give details of when the initial renewal and subsequent renewals will be required according to each registered person's original date of registration.
|Year of first Registration
|First Renewal of Registration
|Number of credits required for First Renewal of Registration
|Second Renewal of Registration
By way of an example, a registered person who registered for the first time on 15 March 1983 will have to renew his /her registration by 15 March 2008. That person will be required to have 10 credits for the first renewal of registration. That registered person's second renewal will be in 2013, where the normal 25 credits will be required. With the start of the system being 1 January 2006, that person will be required to submit details of his/her CPD activities within 30 days after 14 March 2007 for the first year up to 14 March 2007.
CATEGORIES OF ACTIVITIES FOR CPD CREDITS
CPD credits must be obtained in at least two of the three categories listed below, with at least 1 credit per annum from Category 1. The maximum credits which may be accumulated annually in each category are also indicated.
Category 1: Developmental Activities :
- credits = 40 hours (10hrs/credit)
Attendance of structured educational/developmental meetings will be credited on the basis of one credit per 10 hours of attendance. A full day activity will be regarded as being for 10 hours and a half day activity will be regarded as 5 hours and hence half a credit. A maximum of 4 credits (40 hours) may be accumulated annually under this category, which includes activities such as: conferences, congresses, large group workshops, lectures, seminars, refresher courses and colloquiums.
Category 2: Work-based Activities:
- Engineering Work: 2 credits = 800 hours (400hrs/credit)
- Mentoring of candidate practitioners: 1 credit = 50 hours (50hrs/credit)
Since registered persons also remain current by performing their day-to-day engineering responsibilities, a weighting of one credit for every 400 hours per year for engineering related work (including management) is awarded for this category. A maximum of two credits for 800 hours per year may be earned in respect of this activity.
The mentoring of candidate persons in the workplace, in-house skills training sessions and career guidance will be recognised as CPD with a maximum of I credit for 50 hours per year.
Category 3: Individual Activities
- Membership of a recognised voluntary association: 1 credit (not linked to hours)
- Other activities: 3 credits = 30 hours (10hrs/credit)
Membership of an ECSA recognised voluntary association (e.g. SAICE) will result in a maximum of 1 credit per annum.
Other activities include and will be credited as follows:
- Part-time lecturing to undergraduate and postgraduate students: one credit for every 10 hours of lecturing.
- Supervision of students undertaking postgraduate studies: 2 credits per year.
- Oral examinations of final year and postgraduate students: 1 credit for every 10 hours of active involvement.
- Evaluation of M dissertations and PhD theses by external examiners: 2 credits per year.
- Publication of research in peer reviewed journals: a single author: 2 credits per publication. Where paper has a number of authors: 1 credit per publication per author.
- Publication of technical articles: 1 credit per article published.
- Papers presented at conferences or congresses / poster presentations: 1 credit each
- Participation in statutory, professional, institutional, technical or non-technical committees or task groups: one credit for every 10 hours of active participation.
- Evaluation of educational programmes at Universities and Universities of Technology (Technikons) for accreditation purposes: 1 credit for every 10 hours of active involvement.
- Evaluation of educational qualifications for ECSA's Qualifications Examination Committee: 1 credit for every 10 hours of active involvement.
- Evaluation of competence and applications for registration for ECSA's Registration Committees and Professional Advisory Committees: 1 credit for every 10 hours of active involvement.
- Relevant additional qualifications (these are exceptional allocations): A completed postgraduate qualification: 5 credits.
- Self-study which includes, but is not restricted to, studying of journals or electronic or computerised material: 1 credit for every 10 hours of study. All activities under this item must be verified.
A maximum of 3 credits (30 hours) may be accumulated under this category.
The role of SAICE and other voluntary associations
ECSA expects that recognised voluntary associations should assist their members in identifying CPD activities which meet their needs and present CPD activities as described. Recognised voluntary associations will also be responsible for the validation and monitoring of courses, seminars and conferences offered for CPD credits by other providers.
ECSA has given approval to voluntary associations recognised as such in terms of the Act, as well as accredited tertiary educational institutions, to run activities which will be acknowledged for CPD credits.
All other bodies, such as private companies or state organisations, would need to have the contents of every event they provide for in this category of CPD approved by the recognised voluntary association for the discipline or category of registration concerned and for the assignment of the appropriate credits.
The SAICE Education and Training panel is currently finalising its plan to ensure that our members receive the optimum service. Follow-up articles will appear in the coming months.