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Talking Point with Jim Cook

A year on from its launch applications for the UK Register of Ground Engineering Professionals (UK RoGEP) are increasing.

The uptake of UK RoGEP has been higher than originally expected - we have 60 registrants already and we are anticipating a 50% increase in applications over the next year!

One of the key drivers from a client perspective was that ground engineering work was being carried out by people working outside their area of expertise and qualifications. This, unfortunately, is still common, as noted by AGS members. The AGS is about to publish a guidance document which will provide advice and guidance for procuring ground engineering services with a particular emphasis on UK RoGEP and SiLC registrations.

With regards to UK industry recognition of UK RoGEP, various client organisations have been positive in the aims, objectives and needs for registration of ground engineers. The Welsh Government, UK Highways Agency and Network Rail are all fully and publicly endorsing UK RoGEP registration. There is also evidence that some clients are now requiring ground engineering specialists and advisers to be involved in their projects, the Scottish Forestry Commission being one. The three levels of registrant are now also beginning to appear in guidance documents and client specifications. The recently published Site Investigation Steering Group specification document provides details of the roles that should be undertaken for the three levels of registrant.

“One of the key drivers was that ground engineering work was being carried out by people working outside their area of expertise.”

The high number of applications for registration has led to, on a few occasions, a longer turnaround of application processing. Other delays have occurred when the sponsor’s statements and the sponsorship forms have not followed the guidance provided. This has been seen particularly with regards to the personal statement, where one of the key factors used by the assessors is evidence of the six attributes - innovation, technical solutions, integration, risk management, sustainability and management - which can be identified in carrying out projects, research and writing technical papers.

The other key matter is the sponsorship of candidates. The original members of the panel approved the sponsorship of all applicants who were personally known to them. As the number of registrants increased they in turn were able to sponsor further applicants whom they had known and worked with. With the success of UK RoGEP registration there were issues with some applicants who could not obtain registered sponsors. We have therefore allowed some non-registered ground engineers to become sponsors subject to the approval of the panel. This is a temporary arrangement that will be resolved in the near future.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a requirement for admission to the register and applicants are asked to provide details of both their CPD plan and record. While it is expected that such documents would cover general professional discipline matters, registrants are additionally expected to plan and undertake occupational CPD specific to the register. UK RoGEP will be issuing further guidance notes concerning CPD.

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