How to fill the training gap

In this article, I want to 'fly a kite' about an issue that was the subject of some discussion by Members of the IICA Federal Council meeting in May this year.

The issue in question was the possibility, feasibility or even the desirability of our Institute seeking license from our sister organization in the US, the International Society of Automation (ISA), to conduct the necessary training courses, preparatory to candidates sitting for the ISA's formal examinations leading to either the Certified Automation Professional (CAP) and /or the Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST).

Unfortunately, the majority of readers of this article will not have heard of either qualification. Which is a pity because many countries internationally widely recognise that anyone with the above credentials is simply better equipped to gain an advantage over other candidates seeking similar employment.

Conversely, companies with staff having the CAP or CCST post nominals, recognise the value they bring to a company's competitive position, efficiencies and profitability. But not so in Australia!

A brief overview of these qualifications will not go astray.

Both the CAP and CCST qualifications are Certified by the ISA, which provides an objective, third party assessment and confirmation of a person's skills and gives them the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and be recognised. Generally, the qualifications criteria for such programs include specific requirements of education, experience and examination.

Persons who successfully complete the CAP Program are usually responsible for the direction, design and deployment of systems and equipment for manufacturing and control systems.

Those with the CCST certification are usually persons who calibrate, document, troubleshoot and repair/replace instrumentation for systems that measure and control level, temperature, pressure, flow and other process variables.

Why aren't Australian based companies demanding that candidates have specific purpose credentials like the CAP or CCST or even dedicated degrees in engineering geared to IC&A?

There may be a couple of reasons, one being that Australian universities generally do not offer such specific degrees. They tend to offer electrical or computing engineering courses with add-on IC&A content. Thus employers do simply train recruits on the job for their specialist requirements.

Also, the majority of Australian companies, including many multinationals, are unaware of the existence of the CAP and CCST qualifications.

There is a gap that needs filling. It is perhaps timely for the IICA to initiate and explore the possibility of the IICA providing access to the ISA CAP and CCST Programs to Australians.

I would be very happy to receive feedback and input from our readers.

[Brett Simpson is President IICA.]

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