03 August 2015

New agreement for International Engineering Technicians

  • One of the many beautiful mosques in Istanbul.
  • Mr Basil Wakelin MNZM DistFIPENZ, retiring Governing Group Chair.
  • Dr Yavuz Ercil of MUDEK Turkey with fellow delegates. Dr Yavuz was a key part of the organising committee.

IPENZ has signed an Agreement for International Engineering Technicians at the annual meeting of the International Engineering Alliance, which was held this year in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Agreement establishes a benchmark international standard of skills and qualifications for competent engineering technicians. A key aim is to develop an International Engineering Technicians (IETn) register to promote mutual recognition and mobility of engineering technicians.

In practice, this will mean the skillset of an individual, rather than a particular qualification, will be marked against the benchmark standard to establish a Technician’s level. Therefore, a person recognised in one country as meeting the internationally agreed competence standard will only need minimal assessment on local knowledge to be registered in another signatory country. 

This is the seventh international agreement managed by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) governing mutual recognition of engineering qualifications and professional competence.

As one of six founding provisional members, IPENZ will have a say in the Agreement’s initial development. We will not have to complete a formal application process to get provisional membership. But IPENZ will have to work through a process to become an authorised member of the Agreement. 

Brett Williams, IPENZ Director Learning and Assessment, says: “IPENZ was pleased to have the opportunity to sign this Agreement, which completes the suite of education and registration mobility agreements operating under the IEA. The development of an IETn register recognises the key role that technicians play within engineering teams. There is an acknowledged shortage of technicians in the engineering workforce in New Zealand. The opportunity for registration on an international register can only enhance New Zealand engineering technicians’ standing and support wider initiatives to attract greater numbers of people into these roles in industry.

“The exemplar competence standard adopted by the Agreement is very closely aligned with the competence standard IPENZ already uses to assess technicians for AIPENZ Membership and CertETn registration. This means we should be able to offer registration on a New Zealand section of the IETn register without any change to existing assessment standards."

The annual conference, which took place between 21 and 26 June, saw 153 engineering delegates attending from around the world. The meeting gives the opportunity for representatives of the engineering profession to build closer global engineering ties. 

IEA education and registration mobility agreements

IPENZ accreditation of an academic qualification leads to recognition of graduates under the relevant Accord.

Professional Engineer
Educational Agreement Washington Accord
Professional Competence Agreement International Professional Engineers Agreement and APEC Engineer Agreement
IPENZ currently operates the New Zealand section of the IntPE register under these agreements
Engineering Technologist
Educational Agreement Sydney Accord
Professional Competence Agreement International Engineering Technologists Agreement
IPENZ currently operates the New Zealand section of the IntET register under this agreement
Engineering Technician
Educational Agreement Dublin Accord
Professional Competence Agreement Agreement for International Engineering Technicians, which will establish the International Engineering Technician (IETn) register

Recognising New Zealander's contribution

At the end of the conference, Basil Wakelin MNZM DistFIPENZ stepped down from his role as Chair of the IEA Governing Group.

Mr Wakelin is highly regarded in the New Zealand engineering profession and is a long-committed IPENZ volunteer. His work has included significant roles in developing engineering education and competence standards in New Zealand and internationally, and establishing the accreditation of engineering degrees. He also led the development of the competence standard established under the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002.

Mr Wakelin, who became chair of the Governing Group in June 2011, was acknowledged by signatories for his significant contribution to the IEA.

Growing the Agreements

The meetings highlighted the strong interest in membership of the various agreements, in particular the Washington Accord. Costa Rica was admitted as a provisional signatory to the Washington Accord, while Mexico is also in the process of being accepted as a provisional signatory. Current provisional signatories that are undergoing reviews to progress to full membership include China and the Philippines, while a review of Pakistan is currently on hold pending safety concerns.

One region that is seen as key to the Agreements' future growth is Europe. The IEA has been working to build strong links with the European Network for the Accrediation of Engineering Education (ENAEE). At the meetings a joint IEA/ENAEE Best Practice Guide of Accreditation was endorsed by IEA members for publication.

Next year's conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 30 May to 3 June.