PEO campaign encourages the use of financial incentives to attract engineers

Monday August 11, 2008
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Toronto, Ont. - Qualified engineering graduates and newcomers to Canada now have the chance to apply for an Ontario professional engineer licence for free óbut a new report suggests not many of them are taking advantage of the opportunity.
According to Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), less than 10 per cent of eligible international engineering graduates and less than 20 per cent of graduates from Ontario engineering schools have taken advantage of the new rules, which came into effect in May, 2007.
"Our main goal is to remove the cost barriers and get engineering graduates to apply for the licence," says PEO President J. David Adams, P.Eng., MBA. "We want to ensure that every qualified person can succeed in engineering and encourage recognition of their skills. We have provided the tools and we want all those eligible to use them."
Under the Engineering Intern Training Financial Credit Program (FCP), international engineering graduates and Canadian university graduates may be eligible to apply free for licensure and be enrolled in the first year of PEOís Engineering Intern Training Program. Normally, the cost of application is $230. Enrolment in the EIT program is $70 a year.
"Comprehensive licensure is in the public interest," says PEO chief executive officer and registrar Kim Allen, P.Eng. "Not only does a licence demonstrate that its holder has been rigorously educated, is experienced and committed to a Code of Ethics, it also provides the most effective means to make the holder accountable to the public."
As of June 30, 2008, PEO has invested more than $500,000 in the program - including $325,000 in waived fees - with only 246 of the 3,500 newcomers to the province claiming to have engineering qualifications and 832 of 4,500 graduates from Ontario university engineering programs applying for licensure through the program.  Approximately one-third of graduates from Ontario engineering schools typically apply for licensure within five years of graduation. Under the FCP, one-fifth of eligible grads have applied so far.
To increase these numbers, PEO is launching a province-wide multi-media campaign called Moviní Up!, targeting students, new engineering graduates and newly arrived international engineering graduates through advertisements, marketing brochures and information sessions on university campuses. The association is also investigating the creation of a multi-tiered licensing program that would officially recognize engineering students and internationally trained professionals when they graduate or arrive in Ontario.
 "We want all those who have studied or are studying engineering to take the initiative and get licensed. That includes engineering students and Canadian and international graduates, as well as those already participating in our Engineering Intern Training Program," adds Adams.

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