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2024-04-30 09:26

Introduction of APEC engineers register

The qualifications of an individual working in the engineering field are generally divided into three levels worldwide: engineer, technologist, and technician, based on the level of education and training the individual has attained.

Meanwhile, to determine the competence, professional level, standards, and technical professional levels of engineers, a professional organization with the function and capacity to assess based on specific criteria is required. Current international standards also divide professional levels into three tiers. For example, in the engineer level: graduate engineer (3-5 years after completing university program), licensed engineer (5-7 years post-graduation), and professional engineer (minimum of 7 years practical experience since graduation, spent at least 2 years in responsible charge of significant engineering work).
The process of globalization, promoting trade integration, and investment has created a need for labor migration on a global scale. To facilitate technical labor migration within the region and internationally, since the 1970s-1990s, many international and regional organizations, governments, and intergovernmental organizations (such as the United Nations) have emphasized the need for a common framework for mutual recognition among countries regarding technical service quality standards. This includes standardizing technical training programs (degree recognition) and recognizing the technical labor level (recognition of individual competencies). Currently, the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) is the largest international organization establishing and implementing standards for training programs and professional level recognition through the establishment of international agreements, such as the Washington Accord, Dublin Accord, Sydney Accord, and APEC Engineer Agreement.


Determining the professional grade of an individual allows them to be recognized for their standard qualifications and enables them to practice within a region or geographic area according to specialized agreements of a multinational legal organization. Professional engineers and technologists must continually enhance their capabilities and competitiveness to aim for mobility within the ASEAN, APEC, and global regions to provide technical services.

Obtaining the APEC Engineer Title:

The APEC Engineer title is a professional designation awarded to individuals recognized as professional engineers, acknowledged and permitted to practice within the 21 member economies of the APEC region, by an authorized organization approved by the APEC Engineer Coordinating Committee.

Among the 21 APEC member economies, only 13 have full status under the APEC Engineer Agreement (including Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, the United States, Peru) and 3 are provisional members including Singapore, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea.

Standards for consideration as an APEC engineer:

- Completion of an accredited or equivalently evaluated engineering program as per the Washington Accord.
- Assessment and recognition by the education system of the home country and issuance of the required certification to practice independently.
- Minimum seven years of practical experience since graduation.
- At least two years of responsibility for important technical work equivalent to leading an independent activity.
- Continuous professional development at a reasonable level.

Additionally, all practicing engineers seeking APEC Engineer registration must agree to the organization's requirements, including:

- Adherence to professional conduct rules established by the system and enforcement of arbitration rights and any other arbitration rights in the registration and practice field.
- Personal responsibility for their actions, through requirements set by the governing authority, licensing agency, or registration in the legal jurisdiction where they work, in compliance with local laws.

APEC Engineer Coordinating Committee:

To ensure consistency in application of the agreed criteria, ultimate authority for conferring the title of APEC Engineer will remain with the APEC Engineer Coordinating Committee, which is to include one voting representative from each Monitoring Committee. That authority may be delegated from time to time by the APEC Engineer Coordinating Committee to an authorised Monitoring Committee in each participating economy.

The main role of the Coordinating Committee is to facilitate the maintenance and development of authoritative and reliable decentralised Registers of APEC Engineers, and to promote the acceptance of APEC Engineers in each participating economy as possessing general technical and professional competence that is substantially equivalent to that of professional engineers registered or licensed in that economy.

The committee will also:

Develop, monitor, maintain, and promote mutually acceptable standards and criteria for facilitating practice by APEC Engineers through out the participating APEC economies.

Seek to gain a greater understanding of existing barriers to such practice and to develop and promote strategies to help governments and licensing authorities reduce those barriers and manage their processes in an effective and non-discriminatory manner.

Through the mechanisms available within APEC, encourage the relevant governments and licensing authorities to adopt and implement streamlined procedures for granting rights to practise to APEC Engineers.

Identify, and encourage the implementation of, best practice for the preparation and assessment of engineers intending to practise at the professional level; and

Continue mutual monitoring and information exchange by whatever means are considered most appropriate, including: regular communication and sharing of information concerning assessment procedures, criteria, systems, manuals, publications and lists of recognised practitioners; invitations to verify the operation of the procedures of other participants; and invitations to observe open meetings of any boards and/or commissions responsible for implementing key aspects of these procedures and relevant open meetings of the governing bodies of the participants; reporting on the use by engineers to monitor the performance of the Registers.

APEC Engineers Register Monitoring Committee

Each APEC economies participating in APEC technical agreement designated only one authorisation with designation function to implement the monitoring. The primary objective of Monitoring Committee will be to develop and maintain a Register of APEC Engineers for practitioners within the economy. In most countries/economies this committee is undertaken by engineer association. For examples, Engineers Australia, Institution of Engineer Malaysia.

Monitoring Committee seeking authorisation to operate a Register in their economy will prepare a statement setting out the criteria and procedures by Coordinating Committee. Coordinating Committee makes statement, provides timely and accurate information on the status of any practioner claiming to be listed on that Register to any person or organisation having a legitimate need for access to such information

Authorised Monitoring Committee must further undertake to: · accept and promote the substantial equivalence of the competence of APEC Engineers registered by other authorised Monitoring Committees;

Make every reasonable effort to ensure that the bodies responsible for registering or licensing professional engineers to practise within their economy recognise that APEC Engineers have general technical and professional competence substantially equivalent to that of engineers already registered or licensed in that economy; ensure that all practitioners registered by them as APEC Engineers comply fully with the requirements specified in the APEC Engineer Framework, and that a substantial majority of these practitioners have demonstrated their compliance through the primary procedures and criteria set out in the Assessment Statement for that economy; ensure that practitioners applying for registration as an APEC Engineer are required to provide evidence that they have engaged in an appropriate level of recent continuing professional development; and ensure that practitioners registered by them as APEC Engineers apply from time to time for renewal of their registration, and, in so doing, provide evidence that they have engaged in an appropriate level of recent continuing professional development.

APEC Engineer Registration in Vietnam

There has been no Vietnamese agency participating in the APEC Engineering Agreement to implement APEC engineer registration for Vietnamese engineers. Therefore, a Vietnamese engineer who wants to register as an APEC engineer can only apply through the registration agencies of other member countries/economies that have participated in the technical agreement. Accordingly, if Vietnamese engineers fully meet the criteria set forth by IEM, they can be recognized as APEC engineers.


Honorary ceremony and certificate award to ASEAN engineers in 2023 at VUSTA

From 2023, VUSTA has been making plans to join professional mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region (APEC) aiming to connect and facilitate Vietnamese engineers to reach professional standards of APEC. On December 19, 2023, VUSTA has organized an international conference on "Process of joining APEC engineers: Sharing experiences and practices in training engineering disciplines in the ASEAN and APEC regions". The results of the workshop pointed out that promoting mutual recognition of the qualifications of technical workers in general and of professional engineers in Vietnam in particular is still limited.

Firstly, at the ASEAN level, although the government has joined in the "Mutual Recognition Agreement on Technical Services of ASEAN Countries" (MRA) since 2005, it has not yet been widely known over past 20 years. The registration of ASEAN standard engineers (CPE) according to the above MRA agreement has been implemented only within construction engineering industries (according to the Construction Law), without applicable to other engineering industries and had not attracted the attention of Vietnam's engineering team. Meanwhile, the registration of ASEAN professional engineers (PE) according to the agreement of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (AFEO) has been undertaken by VUSTA since 2006 and gained significant achievements. Up to now, two parallel recognition system (one recognized by the governments of ASEAN countries and one recognized by professional associations of ASEAN countries) mentioned above still exists in most ASEAN countries, except Cambodia.

Vietnam has not joined the APEC Engineering Agreement under International Engineering Alliance, so there is no opportunity for Vietnamese engineers to be recognized as APEC engineers, it is also a challenge to register abroad. Therefore, Vietnam needs to actively participate in APEC forums and alliance, including the Federation of APEC Technical Organizations (FEIAP). VUSTA is eligible organization to represent its member professional associations joining in FEIAP, making a channel of cooperation and a bridge to technical associations of APEC member countries. VUSTA is in preparation to apply to FEIAP in order to carry out APEC engineer registration through FEIAP.

To participate in the APEC Engineering Agreement, VUSTA will carry out procedures in accordance with the Vietnam legislative requirements, law on international agreements, at the same time, it requires VUSTA to prepare resources and apparatus to meet the standards to be qualified to act as the focal agency in charge of registering APEC engineers in Vietnam. In addition, specific legal basis needed to regulate engineering practice activities in Vietnam in accordance with international practices. This enables to promote the advantages of participating in international engineering agreements such as the APEC engineering agreement.

It also requires a law on professional associations which will specify the roles, functions, and tasks of professional associations in the field of training and continuous training of technical professions. This is the necessary legal basis for professional associations to proactively and actively perform this important function.

From international experience it has a great deal to learn that professional associations play a crucial role in expanding international cooperation, researching training program standards, and practice conditions in each country in order to provide consultation for domestic training institutions to meet international standards; and play as the focal point for promoting mutual recognition between professional associations among countries and entities conducting the registration of engineers and technicians for the technical workforce in Vietnam. Professional associations in developed countries well performed their role and are recognized by the government.

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