The relevance of promoting professional association membership certification to Students and early career practitioners

By Tgst. Mahmud Hussaini

The relevance of promoting professional association membership certification to Students and early career practitioners in the construction industries.

Introduction
The property and construction industry has relied heavily on its professional bodies to maintain educational and professional standards among its members and to regulate the profession for the benefit of its members and the public. It is widely recognised that professions fulfil an important role in society and much has been published on these benefits over the years. Clive and Sara (2006) while writing on the facilities management profession, identified a number of underlying characteristics of a profession. He posited the hallmark of a profession to be; ‘specific and have a definable knowledge and skills base that has to be acquired and tested; a high degree of self-control of behaviour via codes of ethics; and a recognised social responsibility that gives a primary and selfless orientation to the community interest’.

The regulation of ethical standards by professional bodies is recognised as a cornerstone of professional practice and, in many jurisdictions around the world, it is the professional bodies, with their well-established codes of ethical practice, that provide a regulatory buffer between the professional in practice and the role of the state in protecting the public. The role of professional codes; ‘is to prevent professionals from exploiting the asymmetrical information that is a part of the professional-client relationship.’(Clive and Sara, 2006). It is for these reasons that professional bodies have grown in national and international contexts and the import of the quality of membership and the ethical standards which they maintain is essential to their continued success (Clive and Sara, 2006). .

After graduation, many associations will need to convert student members into professional members. The process should be easy, accessible, and supportive to young people. Nearly 4 million higher-education degrees were awarded this graduation season, and now many students will enter the job market for the first time. Some may consider membership in a professional association and some, in fact, are already members. With a student membership, young people gain access to information, supplemental training, news, and other resources designed to help them apply what they’re learning in the classroom (Amanda, 2019). For associations, student membership provides an opportunity to support emerging professionals in the earliest stage of their career. According to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2018

Definitions
Professional Body
A professional body (also referred to as a professional institute) can be defined as an organisation that holds individual members who are personnel associated with a specific profession, interest or occupation. Professional bodies will possess specific knowledge, skills and experience of academic principles related to its members’ professions or occupations which, in turn, can help support the professional development and advancement of its members.

Membership of Professional Bodies
Membership of professional bodies means that an individual is affiliated/part of an organisation. The professional membership application process varies depending on the type of professional body that you are becoming a member of.

Professional Membership
Professional membership is the status that a member is given when they have joined a professional body. Professional memberships aim to support individuals professionally and aid them in progressing within their career/profession. It is an opportunity for industry professionals, such as professional engineers, to join an organisation that represents their work ethic and values to employers and clients.

Role of Professional Bodies to its members
The overall role of a professional body is to facilitate the professional needs and interests of its members. Membership of any professional body gives you access to membership benefits specific to that institute. The roles of a professional body vary depending on the type of professional body that they are, for example, professional engineering institutions/bodies will be able to facilitate their members’ professional development through engineering-specific, industry-related benefits.

Membership benefits typically include:

  • Industry events including talks on relevant topics
  • Networking events and networking opportunities
  • Volunteer work and opportunities
  • Professional advice from experts (such as licensed professional engineers)
  • Work experience opportunities
  • Registration with the Engineering Council
  • Access to technical knowledge and information

Student Membership
A student membership in a professional organization is a membership level reserved for University or Polytechnic students. This type of membership tends to be less expensive than that for a professional already working in the field. Specific costs can vary by association, but the potential savings can be significant (accreditedcolleges.org). For instance, the Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering (NATE) charges students ₦2,500.00 for registration and there is no annual cost for professional membership. To qualify for a student membership, potential members generally must be enrolled in a HND or First degree program related to the association’s career field.




Benefits of Young Professional Membership
Being a member of professional engineering institution allows you to demonstrate to others your professionalism, particularly to potential employers or clients. You are not limited to being a member of only one professional body/institute, which allows you to access a much broader range of benefits. Having a professional membership on your CV indicates to employers that you are competent, due to both the process of gaining membership and being a member of a professional body/institute involving a high level of commitment.

As a student or graduate, becoming a member of a professional engineering institution offer access to resources that can help your academic studies. This includes libraries, databases, journals, specialist interest groups, networking opportunities and careers advice. Membership of a Professional Engineering Institution (PEI) will demonstrate to prospective employers you understand the requirement for professionalism in your industry, and that you have the necessary competence to fulfil your role.

Professional Engineering Institutions (PEI)
As an engineer or Technologists, becoming a member of a professional body/institution can be an important part of your professional portfolio. Licensed engineers or Technologists can benefit from professional membership/registration due to it allowing you to be connected with personnel within the same field. It is an opportunity to enter a professional network, gain new contacts, skills and potential engineering work. Being a member of a professional body enables you to display the experience and knowledge that you have gained from your membership on your CV. (The Welding Institute, United Kingdom, January, 2O22)

Engineering Council
The Engineering Council is the regulatory body for the engineering profession. Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) is the regulatory body that governs the practice of Engineering in Nigeria. The main purpose of this body is to regulate and control the training and practice of Engineering in Nigeria and to ensure and enforce the registration of all engineering personnel (i.e Engineers, Engineering Technologists, Engineering Technicians, and Engineering Craftsmen) and Consulting firms wishing to practice or engage in the practice of engineering




Registration with Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering (NATE)
Membership Admission
Membership of the Association is divided into three main classes as follows:-

  • Corporate Members
  • Fellows
  • Members
  • Non-Corporate Members
  • Graduates
  • Students
  • Associates
  • Affiliated
  • Honorary Members
  • Grand Patrons
  • Patrons
  • Honorary Fellows
  • Honorary Members

Student Members
This grade of membership is open to students in approved Polytechnics, Colleges of Technology and Universities who are admitted to pursue National Diploma, Higher National Diploma and First Degree in the relevant field of Engineering Technology. Such students shall, while applying for membership, be required to produce the following;

  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae
  • Photocopies of credentials
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Photocopies of admission letter and ID card
  • Evidence of payment of registration fee ₦2,500.00

They are expected to be attending their school’s Student Chapter and/or nearest Branch. They can attend Associations’ Conferences and participate in the Biannual Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering Workshop and Exhibition (NATEWEX).

Graduate Members
Graduate membership is open to Engineering graduates of Polytechnics, Colleges of Technology and Universities who are without at least three (3) years cognate industrial experience, provided the institution attended is approved by the Council. No examination is required for the membership.it gives them the opportunity to participate in National, Zonal, Branch, Chapter activities. Such participation may attract points during Corporate Membership registration. In addition:
He must not be under 18 years of age at the time of application.
He must produce evidence of discharge or exemption from the National Youth Service Corps Scheme.



Corporate Members
This is the main membership of Association. Corporate Members are referred to as Members. Registration for Corporate Membership involves series of procedures. It is the Corporate Membership that qualifies one to register with the Council for the Regulation of in Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).

Procedures of Registration.
To be eligible for election or transfer to this class of membership, a candidate must fulfil the following Conditions:
Must possess one or more of the following academic qualifications, that is to say:
HND Engineering
HNC Engineering
B.Sc. Engineering or
Any other qualification which in the opinion of the Council is equivalent to any of the qualification stated above.

NOTE: There are some B.Sc. classified under Technologist by the Council for the Regulation of in Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
Must have had Three years’ experience in practical Engineering work, at least Two years of which must have been spent in appropriate training supervised by a qualified and experienced Technologist.

Associate Members
Associates shall be:
—-a. Persons elected as such by the council are people not qualified in the opinion of the Council for Corporate membership of the Institution but by virtue of academic qualifications held and work in field related to Engineering and wish to be associated with the Association and its activities.
—Be not less than 21 years of age at the time of application for admission and:
Have had at least 5 years continuous employment in a responsible position in any branch of science in Government or Industry, which in the opinion of Council is related to Engineering.
—Satisfy the Council that by their qualifications and previous experience in the position they occupy at the time of election, their admittance as Associates will promote the declared objects of the institution and its further development
—b. Graduates of Polytechnic, Colleges of Technology and similar Institutions at the National Diploma level or equivalents as may be determined by the Council. In addition:
–Candidate must not be less than 18 years of age at the time of application.
Must show evidence of continuous employment for at least 2 years after qualification





Corporate Fellows
This is the highest corporate level of the Association. There are conditions for one to attain the status of a Fellow. Those conditions are not important for this discussion, but are available on the NATE website: www.nate.org.ng

References
Clive M.J.W & Sara J.W. (2006). The relevance of professional institutions to students and early career practitioners in property and construction industries in Australia
http://www.nate.org.ng
https://www.nate.org.ng/
The Welding Institute (2022). Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL, United Kingdom.
Wilson, A. (1997). Marketing professional associations. Management Decision, 35(1): p.
49.

By Tgst. Mahmud Hussaini   is a National General Secretary, Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering (NATE)

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