Start as you mean to go on

Start as you mean to go on

RPEQs can help our future engineering professionals and shape the future of our profession, writes BPEQ’s elected RPEQ representative, Suzanne Burow.

student engineer RPEQ

Recently, I have spoken to several engineering student groups about statutory registration and more particularly registration in Queensland. It has been gratifying that some of our future engineering professionals are taking the steps to become informed about these requirements. However, there are many more Queensland students who are uncertain of their obligations imposed by statutory registration, let alone students from other Australian jurisdictions.

BPEQ reaches out to various engineering student societies at universities in Queensland to facilitate this conversation but not all students attend these sessions. The need for engineering students to gain industry experience as a requirement of graduation presents a great opportunity for RPEQs, anywhere in Australia, to join this conversation, help our future engineering professionals and shape the future of our profession.

When students join your organisation, they are open to learning new skills and gaining new experiences. Take advantage of that mindset to instill within them the behaviours that will serve both them and our profession well in the longer term. Demonstrate that RPEQs take their commitment to CPD seriously even when work is busy or when life challenges you. Support and encourage them to attend relevant CPD covering the engineering work they will be exposed to during their employment. Perhaps you could organise for members of the team to attend the presentation together. Alternatively, if restrictions prevent attendance or there are no relevant CPD events in your area, there are plenty of online CPD options. To boost the engagement for the student, follow up the presentation with a discussion of how this could be useful with current projects. And finally share the tool you use to record CPD so that students can start out as they should mean to go on. All of us can be positive role models in our workplaces without too much effort.

‘…behaviours that will serve both them and our profession well in the longer term.’

At these recent presentations, students were unsure whether they could ask which RPEQ would be directly supervising them. They were concerned that this question may be unwelcome, considered impertinent or that they would be rebuked. RPEQs can empower students by normalising this conversation. When you or your staff brief the student on the engineering work that they will be undertaking include details of the RPEQ who will be directly supervising them. Ultimately, this is just another aspect of the technical and business skills that they should be learning during this period. Furthermore, normalising this conversation will encourage students to realise that they must take charge of their careers. True, it can be daunting and at times they may be challenged by ethical dilemmas, but such a responsibility cannot be delegated.

Elected RPEQ representative

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus) RPEQ

Ms Burow joined the Board in 2019 as the elected representative. She is a chartered and registered civil engineer with considerable experience as a practitioner in water resources engineering in various sectors across the industry.