Enhancing the Assessment and Accountability Standards of Engineers through Video Conferencing
Established almost 100 years ago, the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is the professional body representing engineers from all disciplines in New Zealand.
Under the Chartered Professional Engineers Act 2002, IPENZ is also the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers. IPENZ's role is to conduct assessments that determine the current competence of engineers, and this information is used to make decisions on either the admission to or continuation on a register of current competence. New Zealand is unique in that it is the only jurisdiction in the world that requires an engineer, once registered, to undertake assessments of current competence at intervals not exceeding 6 years to retain registration.
After an in-depth review of its assessment processes, IPENZ wanted to add further rigour to its assessments in accordance with its philosophy of constant improvement. A significant change was made with a decision in 2011 to require all engineers undertaking an assessment for continued registration to undergo an interactive assessment as part of the process. The earthquakes in Canterbury in 2010 and 2011 also drove public expectations, reinforcing the steps IPENZ had initiated to have more rigour built into the assessment process.
Prior to 2012, only engineers being assessed for admission to a register were required to undertake a face-to-face or interactive assessment. However, from 2012 onwards, the change in regulations meant all registrants undertaking an assessment for continued registration would be required to undertake an interactive assessment. The sheer volume of continued registration assessments (CRAs) scheduled for 2013 made the deployment of an effective video conferencing system essential.
Since installing the cloud-based video service in 2013, IPENZ has been conducting all its CRAs using the Blue Jeans video conferencing technology. This has provided the additional benefit that engineers can undertake an assessment from anywhere in the world – so long as they are able to access the internet.
In the past six months, IPENZ has used Blue Jeans for approximately 59,900 minutes. The cloud based video conferencing service allows the organisation to offer an interactive assessment no matter where engineers are based. Having the continued registration assessment conducted via Blue Jeans enables more engineering professionals to be assessed interactively and with minimal disruption to their daily work activities.
Blue Jeans has provided IPENZ with a special assessment tool that has allowed it to enhance the rigour of its assessments, ultimately contributing to an improved quality mark for professional engineers and to providing the public of New Zealand with greater confidence in the competence of engineers on its registers.