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Humanitarian Engineers developing Stage 2 Competencies

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I am interested in understanding how engineers deployed on short, medium and long term disaster and development projects build competencies in line with Engineers Australia Stage 2 Framework. Before setting up a formal investigation I would love to get the communities input into this topic.

  • What are the skills that you develop on deployments?
  • Are these skills developed differently to the way in which they might be working as a professional engineer in more traditional industry?
  • Are there any skills or competencies that you can't complete a deployment without gaining?
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  • 8 months later...

Hi Nick.

Sorry to have been so long responding to this.

As you will doubtless have gathered from my BOK and Forum posts, I do have strong views about practitioner competencies applicable to humanitarian work (as we have defined it for the purposes of the Community of Practice).

Essentially, while judgments about the appropriateness and nature of technology are important, that aspect of engineering involvement is, in my opinion, less challenging (and less critical for success) than the requirement for insightful leadership.

This capacity can, of course, be development "on deployment", but is unlikely to be fully appreciated without suitable pre-deployment preparation.

The obvious difference for an engineer in a "traditional" context is the constrained timeframe in which projects and programs take place, vs ongoing employment with its more open-ended engagement.

So, practitioners need, as a minimum, to understand context (see my BOK and Forum posts), the intricacies of communication (networks, styles, content, frequency), decision making (quality, ethics, consistency), and motivation (a rationale for following).

The nature of engagement with local community participants, and the  extent of their ownership of the undertaking must also be understood.

I would suggest that the better practitioners are informed regarding these issues, the more effectively their competencies will develop.

Looking forward to comments from others as we develop a competency framework.


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