Home In the Press Meeting with the Engineering Profession Board (25/03/19)
Friday, 19 April 2019
Meeting with the Engineering Profession Board (25/03/19)

On 25th of March 2019, the newly elected Council of the Chamber of Engineers (CoE) held a meeting with the Engineering Profession Board (EPB) at The Professional Centre, the CoE headquarters. The purpose of this meeting was twofold. First, to cordially introduce the new council to the EPB. Secondly, the CoE requested the latest factual picture about current issues surrounding our profession including the Warrant as well as the Engineering Act which is currently being revised.

The EPB re-iterated that it recognises the CoE as the singular interlocutor between the EPB and the engineering community in Malta. The EPB also acknowledged the role of the CoE as the bridge between the EPB and the members of the engineering community.

The CoE took stock of the developments regarding the engineering profession warrant and gathered further information on the actions to date and future steps.  The same meeting was also the right platform to discuss the EPB’s work with respect to the revision of the Engineering Act, as planned for the near future. Both subjects were discussed in detail and the core points are sumarised hereunder:

The EPB has amended the interview process as part of the application of the Engineering Warrant in favour of more scrutiny and an improved process which recognises further the value of the Warrant.

The EPB has reviewed a Pre-Warrant Qualifications Course (60 ECTS at MQF Level 6) to commence at MCAST in April 2019. This will serve as a bridging course for MCAST students who followed a 180 ECTS course and currently do not fulfill the requirements for applying to the Engineering Warrant. The EPB has found the content of this bridging course satisfactory. The CoE also positively notes that apart from this first check, this Pre-Warrant Qualifications course will be subject to an independent external auditing process whose administrators will be appointed by the EPB. The audit will be carried out while the course is running. It is only once this bridging course has been scrutinised further by the external reviewers that the bridging study will be considered satisfactory. A further point that the CoE had emphasised in the past is that the attainment of credits should be tested through formal examinations. We were happy to note that indeed this will be the case for this bridging course.

The EPB said that Engineering courses at MCAST, as of the start of the academic year 2019/2020, are now composed of 240 ECTS and the exam component of the assessment method is also present in the entirety of the course content. Furthermore, as was emphasised several times by the CoE, the course content leading to a degree in engineering should be of an academic nature rather than a vocational education type of approach.

The EPB said that it is issuing a call for external auditors which will be responsible to ensure that both the new engineering courses at MCAST and the Pre-Warrant Qualifications course at the same institution are of the expected level. The EPB said that it wants to ensure that the results of the new courses are up to standard, which means that the auditing process will be taking place at minimum until the first set of graduands (i.e. the year 2023)

The CoE inquired on the details of the letter issued by the engineering board dated 9th October 2018 which provides guidance notes for candidates sitting for the interview process and also guidelines for the “Assessment of academic qualifications leading to the award of the warrant to practice of the engineering profession”. Particularly, the council voiced utter concern on the clause reading “a minimum of 3 year full time (180ECTS credits at level 6) Bachelors degree in Engineering recognised by the board plus a further minimum of one year full-time equivalent (60 ECTS at MQF level 6 [of a sub-level 3 or 4 within MQF level 6] or higher) leading to an engineering qualification.”. The EPB reassured the Chamber that this clause is only relevant to students graduating from the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta which uses a 3+2 educational system in line with the Bologna process. This clause does not apply to the proposed 60ECTS bridging studies credits unless the full checks and balances take place and the course is found to be satisfactory.

The CoE requested further that in the future, a state exam should be considered leading to the qualification for the Warrant. This was in-line with the strategy of the EPB, resources permitting. This would be yet another checkpoint to ensure that warrant holders are only of the required standard.

As regards the Engineering Act, the EPB said that it has been putting effort in consolidating the Act’s structure from the legal perspective, and in this regard has sought for consultation from EU institutions.

The EPB is working on the proposal of the first draft to present to the Minister. The CoE formally requested that this revised act is made available for consultation with the COE and its members.

The CoE had worked on an initial draft of the act and subsequently requested the removal of the Alternative access and partial access to the profession. This will closely be followed up.

The CoE accepts with responsibility the confirmation of recognition by the EPB and commits itself to its members and the engineering community to ensure that it serves its rightful purpose as the bridge between authorities and the engineering community. The CoE will continue to do so while first and foremost be the voice of the best interests of the engineering profession. Throughout the coming months, the chamber will be following closely the evolvement of these items and others that may arise through continuous meetings with the EPB. The council will also be meeting other crucial stakeholders.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2019 14:35