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A new step towards creating a unified international system of professional certification of engineers was made in St. Petersburg

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According to the authors of the idea, the more accredited specialists will work in public mining companies, the higher will be the capitalization level of and confidence in those from the part of the international community.

On Tuesday, May 26, an online agreement was signed between the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3, London) and the International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, created in affiliation with St. Petersburg Mining University. The parties agreed to establish in the UK a Center for Competency Assessment in the mineral resource complex. The objectives of this structure will include the development of a unified system of certification of knowledge and skills for mining engineers with its subsequent worldwide promotion.

The fact is that presently different states have their own national professional standards in the field of mining engineering, which often seriously disagree with each other. Accreditation received in the United Kingdom is recognized, for example, in the EU, Australia, and several other countries. That is, the qualifications of an engineer certified in London are not questioned in many other parts of the world. But specialists from developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America cannot boast similar privileges. Their career growth in Western companies, including those that work for them in their homeland, is practically impossible without obtaining a certificate of recognition from an authoritative professional community.

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«If your business card says that you are a member of the IOM3 Institute, this is a sign that you have reached a certain professional level. In addition, in some cases, our accreditation is a license to carry out particular activities. For example, a specialist does not have the right to sign a report confirming the composition and quantity of mineral resources in the field if he/she does not have the status of a professional engineer.

Executive Director of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Colin Church

He noted that the international professional community is interested in developing common threshold requirements and professional standards for mining engineers based on best practices. This is especially true due to the fact that every year the mining industry is getting more and more technologically advanced. At the same time, the global shortage of competent engineers does not allow to provide the necessary labor productivity and negatively affects the level of injuries and the environment.

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According to an agreement with the International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, IOM3 will conduct a survey of engineers and managers of specialized companies in various countries aimed at finding out the degree of respondents’ interest in creating a unified international professional standard in the field of mining engineering. This is necessary, in particular, in order to understand what specific aspects are missing in the current professional standards and which of them are considered the most advanced. Then, on the basis of the data obtained, the British Center will develop an exemplary system and methods for assessing competences, as well as create a set of training materials for certification according to the new unified standards.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko emphasized that qualitative changes have taken place in the labor market in recent years. However, many universities did not adapt to those and did not take into account the special features of present-day employers’ requirements for graduates. In particular, the increased need for specialized engineers with additional “focused” competencies. For example, good knowledge of the English language, understanding the economics of production processes, skills in working with special software.

«Graduates who have received a higher education certificate are not yet true engineers. In order to obtain this status, Bachelor’s degree holders must work for three years at a factory as an intern, and Master’s degree and Specialist’s degree holders need two years. After that, they must take monthly advanced training courses at the Competence Center and pass an examination by an expert commission on their knowledge of professional standards. This will help to develop their careers and increase the capitalization of the companies in which they work.

Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko

The Rector also pointed out that the creation of a unified certification system for mining engineers and its widespread implementation, including in the Russian Federation, was one of the goals of the International Competence Center under the auspices of UNESCO. The signing of the agreement with IOM3 was the next step in translating it into action. Its implementation, among other things, will increase confidence in Russian technical education abroad and reduce the engineering backlog of developing countries from the Western ones.

Российско-Британский сырьевой диалог
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад /

На фото: Российско-Британский сырьевой диалог. Санкт-Петербург. Октябрь 2019 года

Let us remind that the cooperation of Mining University and the British Institute began four years ago. IOM3 is an active participant and co-organizer of the Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue, which twice took place in St. Petersburg and once in London. This year, in connection with the difficult epidemiological situation, it will be conducted it online. The dates of the event remain the same: October 2020.

Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад /

На фото: Российско-Британский сырьевой диалог. Лондон. Октябрь 2018 года.