Engineers and competencies in the professional development

Author: José Luis Delpón Ramos. Aeronautical Advisor

Co-Drtor. Master in Aeronautical Competencies. (Rey Juan Carlos University)

European Engineer, 12884ES registration number. (European Engineer recognition in Paris, 1992).

Lead Auditor for maintenance quality management System – ISO 9000 / 2000.

Lead Auditor for, CERTIFIED NUMBER SGS/ICS/LAC/550194/P.3081 (Madrid)

ICAO Expert for Air Navigation in programs framed in the United Nations Plan for Development

Adviser to the Academic Council of the European Institute for Training and Accreditation Aeronautics of the Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid)

He has been a responsible technical engineer of the Navigation System Inspection Service Aerial of Spain.

Technical manager of the R & D program on the on-board system SIERRA-AFIS 8711

He has led the training of inspectors of the Air Navigation System

He has represented Spanish engineering for seven years in the European Monitoring Committee group, which acts as a private evaluator of the Quality of Engineering in the EU, based in Brussels.

Honorary Collaborator of the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid


Engineers and competencies in the professional development.


  • What is meant by "professional competency (competencia)"?


In the EU and in the countries considered in our environment, engineers, that is to say, graduates in engineering in terms of their current name, are not considered such in practice, until they provide a certain minimum of four years of professional experience. The experience that is valued is that of engineering work itself, that is, teaching as such, is not an engineering exercise, except that which is carried out in research and development.


The current trends when presenting a professional Curriculum, obey to more realistic and logical principles. In this way, in the new concept of CV first the real activity in engineering is included and must be taken into account by the employers and, then, the due accreditation of the activities mentioned


All these activities, in slang of engineering, although not only of it, make up the global concept of "competency", understanding as such the acquisition of knowledge, expertise and abilities at a level of sufficient knowledge, to be able to carry out a appropriate work environment


The use of this term in the field of engineering is what helps us to narrow the field of knowledge, expertise and abilities in a homogeneous and standardized way for the countries of the European Union.


In recent decades there has been much discussion about the relevance of the offer of professional training and professional experience, given the need for quality engineering in the European Union, to compete in the global industrial markets.


As a result of all this, the European Union has recently declared relevant competencies for engineering professionals.


  • Categories or areas of "competencies”.


Thanks to this, the accreditation of engineering professionals is standardized and fits into six categories or areas of competency and that facilitates the employee and employer to recognize the professional qualification and that are:


  1. Knowledge and understanding


A deep knowledge of the principles of engineering, based on mathematics and a combination of scientific topics appropriate to their discipline


  1. Engineering analysis.


The ability to apply the theoretical and practical methods appropriate to the analysis and solution of engineering problems


  1. Research


An awareness of continuous technical change and the cultivation of an attitude, to seek innovation and creativity, within the profession of engineer.


  1. Engineering design.


Knowledge of the use of existing and emerging technologies, relevant to their field of specialization, as well as knowledge of the rules and regulations appropriate to their field of expertise.


  1. Engineering practice


A general knowledge of the good practice of engineering in its field and the properties, behavior, manufacture and use of materials, components and software


  1. Transferable skills


  • Understanding of the engineering profession and the obligation to serve society, profession and the environment, through the commitment to apply the ethical code of professional conduct.


  • The capacity of the economy in engineering, quality control, maintenance and use of technical and statistical information


  • The ability to work with others, in multidisciplinary projects.


  • The ability to provide leadership, which encompasses managerial, technical, financial and human considerations.


  • Communication skills and the obligation to maintain competence for continuous professional development.


  • In our case or situation, sufficient fluency in European languages, to facilitate communication when working throughout Europe


Definitely, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) provides us with the appropriate reference in terms of competences and the different levels of development that it describes for each of them, it will give us the measure of professional capacity. In turn, this European Framework of Reference is consistent with several international frameworks, such as the Washington Agreement


  • Professional card of the European Parliament


In a different concept, but related to all of the above, the European Parliament has launched a concept (the professional card) that seeks both the quality of the engineer and their mobility within the European labor market. This Professional Card (Tarjeta Profesional) is designed for all professions and seeks to ensure that the teaching is equal in quality and also to demonstrate the competencies in a controlled and homogeneous manner


We must not forget that the EU must compete with the industrial zones of the USA and ASIA, plus those that emerge in a more or less distant future. This competition will be successful if the professionals, in this case the engineers, are highly qualified


Finally, from the perspective of the employer, it is convenient to emphasize the convenience of applying these references, demanding the appropriate levels in terms of training, experience and evidence or accreditations


Therefore, it is essential to complete the professional curriculum, providing training in broadening the perspective of the aeronautical environment, advancing through it the experience that, otherwise, would cost more time to acquire or would never be acquired by the partial vision, or bounded from the function itself in the position


  • Very important concept: TRAINING


In the aeronautical field, it is considered that the only important thing (without any other superlative or inferior word) is SAFETY and one level below is CONFIDENCE. Then comes everything else, and to maintain these two concepts at a high level is essential breadth of knowledge and solid skills, which can be achieved through training.


To put on to evaluate the training of engineers for the development of the profession, it is important to provide learning through experiences. That is to say, that in order to practice the profession, the future or present professional is formed in the experiences of the work sector in general, being in this case the aeronautical.


Therefore, knowing globally the aeronautical sectors, that are interrelated in one way or another, is very important as specific training for positions of responsibility. But knowing them, in addition, with the experience obtained in each of these sectors through trainers with high work experience, is a way to get directly the reality that any professional in the working life is, having a knowledge as a whole and separately of the most important aeronautical sectors.


In addition, the lessons of experience received through training, can be reflected directly in the exposed concept of "competency" (competencia) for information of any employer, which is a direct benefit both for him and for the employee.


Finally, from the perspective of the employer, it is convenient to emphasize the convenience of applying these references, demanding the appropriate levels in terms of training, experience and evidences or accreditations


  • Levels of training, experience and accreditations


Companies in the aeronautical sector require professionals capable of operating in a globalized environment and, the labor market, asks and demand accreditation and practical knowledge for the development of the activity, which involves:


  • An understanding of the engineering profession and, at the same time, an obligation to serve society, the profession and the environment, applying the appropriate code of professional conduct.
  • Capacity in economic engineering, quality assurance, sustainability and use of technical and statistical inform
  • Ability to work with others in multidisciplinary projects
  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal directive capacities
  • Capabilities to manage high performance teams


When we speak of "intrapersonal", we are referring to a type of intelligence, which occurs in situations in which the individual is very aware of their qualities, abilities and limitations, being in this case when we tend to talk about that kind of intelligence.


The experts speak of multiple intelligences system, where each individual has a certain type of intelligences that facilitate certain actions, or that have a tendency to behave in a certain way. Among these intelligences, the intrapersonal is the one that indicates the introspective quality that a person can have.


Reading the experts, we come to know that one of the main characteristics of intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to be in deep contact with oneself. While this may seem essential and basic for any type of individual, it means that a person with this type of intelligence will have more facility to contact their interior rather than the outside, that is, with other people. From here, many individuals with intrapersonal intelligence are characterized as shy, introverted and quiet when exposed in groups


In general, subjects with a type of intrapersonal intelligence tend to show trend to perform their tasks and obligations on their own, thus obtaining better results than working in a group. Without going to evaluate the degree of goodness of this situation, it is important the application in the aeronautical sector of the concept of Human Factors to know and control, as much as possible, human behavior.


Returning to the subject of the title of the article, to get a competency (competencia) of the engineer through training, it must be directed to:


  • Have an integrated and global vision of the operation of public and private companies that are part of the air sector.
  • Know and dominate the regulations and procedures required by EASA, as well as their equivalences and / or differences with FAA and ICAO.
  • Use the necessary documentation for the maintenance and repairs of an aircraft.
  • Know the operation of the Flight Operations Directorate of a Company and the department of instruction of the same.
  • Use the different types of charts and plans that are produced for air navigation, as well as the regulations and fundamental concepts for the design of instrumental approach, departure and arrival procedures to / from aerodromes.
  • Understand the implications that a country acquires within the Single European Sky.
  • Know how the Air Navigation System is certified, so that users of the same have confidence in the radiated signal.
  • Acquire the knowledge necessary for the acquisition, transfer and start-up of an aircraft.
  • Know the air safety systems required by the aeronautical authority, as well as the procedures for its management and control.
  • Manage human and material resources related to the maintenance of Air Navigation Facilities in Airports, organizing and correlating people, facilities and maintenance operations, through the contribution of criteria based on the safety, coordination, continuity and reliability of the ANS under their charge.
  • To know the most advanced technology in the sector such as the potentials of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) or the global navigation satellite system (GNSS).
  • Acquire knowledge about the internal functioning of airport facilities and their maintenance, as well as the procedure for their certification.
  • To know the different sources and national, community and international rules of Air Law.
  • To know the regulations governing the transport contract and the sinister within it.
  • Airport regulations and basic concepts. Approach construction authorizations and management.
  • Knowing Psychology about leadership and communication, selectively


  • To prepare the engineer as a professional


                  At the same time, the engineer must be prepared as a professional, through a specific methodology of a program, which:


  • Integrate expert sessions with practical applications that promote the active participation of the student, alternating theoretical expositions with the approach and resolution of practical cases.
  • It is imparted in person. Therefore, the development of the different sessions that make up the course is completely personalized, so that all the participants share a physical space and where the relationship with the teaching staff is direct and trustworthy
  • Work on a case consisting of the preparation of a Project valid for the aeronautical industry, for example the preparation of CAME, MOM, DOH, Product Certification or Major / Minor Modifications, Certification of Components, Project of structural repairs, elaboration of a maintenance program, preparation of a flight test program, as examples
  • And, in addition, incorporate in the program interesting visits with the aim of verifying the practical application of the acquired knowledge


                  Once exposed what has been said previously, it is worth asking why this point of view. The answer is simple: because it is a way to gather all the skills demanded by the labor market in the aeronautical sector as we know it today. The results are a benefit for both the professional and the industry through the employer


                  In addition, it brings together aspects such as certain indispensable label, according to the requirements of the aeronautical labor market in the field of maintenance, air navigation, business and airport management, environment and safety, among others.


                  Through the type of training that we are exhibiting, professional experience in the workplace is added, tailored to large and medium-sized companies in the aeronautical sector. It provides a global vision of the aeronautical sector and incorporates new trends to respond to current and future needs.


                  The methodology of this type of training should be focused on increasing in the participant, immediately, the ability to acquire and develop the personal, managerial and management skills necessary to be a professional within the aeronautical sector. Within the methodology should be taken into account the exchange of experiences among the participants in the training courses, with a faculty of professors made up of executives and professionals experts in different areas of the aeronautical sector, which should give their subjects a focus eminently practical.


                  Being a different, practical and innovative learning experience for professionals with, or initiating professional experience, it is possible to develop professional competences for positions of responsibility, according to:


  • The intrapersonal side to achieve balance.
  • The interpersonal aspect to relate effectively.
  • The critical spirit to support opinions and decisions in a solid manner.
  • Creativity to generate knowledge, processes or products adapted to the needs of the company and the market.


As a summary, it is a reality that to enrich the competence of any professional of engineering, can be carried out through training, but this has to be eminently on topics that are presented in an experimental way and allowing a communication between professionals, understanding as such between students and teachers and viceversa.