INNOVATION January/February 2019


Located on the northwest coast of

British Columbia, Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter in Kitimat is one of the largest manufacturing complexes in the province.

P hoto : R io T in to

EITs AND THEIR EMPLOYERS SEE BIG BENEFITS FROM ACCREDITED MIT TRAINING PROGRAM Peter Lillos, EIT, works at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter in Kitimat, one of the largest manufacturing complexes in the province. Lillos had been progressing towards his professional engineer (P.Eng.) designation when he read about Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Accredited Employer Member-in-Training Program in the March/April 2018 edition of Innovation . Lillos was intrigued. “While working towards completing my competency experiences, I realized I had difficulty proving a few of the examples,” explains Lillos. “I discussed this with other [engineers-in-training] (EITs), who said that they had experienced similar issues. I realized that if I had adhered to a more defined structure through my earlier working years, I would not have faced these issues.” their careers, I knew that EITs across the site would be able to find more opportunities to develop their competencies.” The Accredited Employer Member-in-Training Program is a unique partnership between employers, their EITs, and Engineers and Geoscientists BC, designed to assist EITs in their progression towards professional licensure. It establishes a framework that defines how EITs are trained and satisfies Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s competency requirements. That means that employers can offer their MITs an expedited path towards professional licence, and it helps EITs develop into proficient, skilled professionals.

Through the program, employers design their own training regimens for their EITs, and then apply to the association to become accredited. The program gives the opportunity for employers to match their real-life training with the association’s competency requirements towards licensure. Participating employers have seen an increase in hires as the program enables them to attract EITs who express an interest in becoming professional engineers, but don’t want to change employers to gain suitable experience. Many EITs see the program as a fast-track route to their P.Eng. However, participants soon discover other advantages. Some appreciate the presence of the designated ‘Head of Scheme’— a sort of coach who oversees the program, progresses the competency reviews, and gives direct support to EITs. Others like how the program increases collaboration with their supervisors

Lillos saw that the program had the potential to help him and others like him become better trainees and develop better and more applicable technical skills—and he became convinced his organization needed it. He researched the program on the Engineers and Geoscientists BC website and soon developed a proposal for his senior managers that explained how the program would benefit the entire company. The goal was to demonstrate how gaps in their current EIT training could be addressed where the progression path was unclear. “Rio Tinto has offered some excellent opportunities to develop experience,” he said. “However, as we are a manufacturing facility, there are not always consistent training opportunities from projects that are present at regular intervals. By establishing a more defined program and starting the discussion earlier in

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