Seventy-three per cent of APEGGA members responding in a sample survey display strong-to-moderate support for the Association's Professional Development Program. The results are part of the larger findings from random sample surveys and a series of 11 focus groups (the latter including members of the Association and the general public) carried out by The Advisory Group to gauge member and general public awareness of attitudes toward APEGGA and the professions it represents. The surveys, completed this spring, built upon similar surveys conducted in 1991 and 1993. Questions relating to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program, which was not in place at the time of the previous surveys, were asked for the first time. In rating support for the CPD program (see chart) on a scale of one to five the percentage (in brackets) responses were: one (13 per cent "do not support at all") ; two( 13) per cent); three (21 per cent); four (29 per cent ) and five (23 per cent "strongly support"). The mean level of support was strongest among engineers - 3.39 out of five - compared to 2.27 out of five for geoscientists.
The phone survey was based on a randomly selected sample of 400 members. However, the selection process was controlled so that the ratio of engineers, geologists and geophysicists reflected their proportion within the APEGGA membership. Therefore, there are subsample limitations in comparing engineering and geoscience members. The results from the overall sample of 400 are considered accurate to within five per cent, 19 times out of 20. The same applies to a separate, randomly selected sample drawn from the general public also questioned on attitudes and knowledge about of APEGGA and the professions.
Based on the member sample, (see chart) 72 per cent expressed satisfaction with their APEGGA membership - with 21 per cent saying they were "very satisfied"; and 51 per cent indicating they were "somewhat satisfied". Compared with 1993, the percentage of respondents who expressed dissatisfaction doubled to 18 per cent. Geoscience members were more likely than engineers to express dissatisfaction.
The survey report states: "There were considerable differences between the engineering and geoscience members in terms of their attitudes toward APEGGA. Specifically, the geoscience members were less likely to agree with the statements "I feel confident that APEGGA will address issues of concern to my profession" (46 versus 83 per cent for engineers) and "APEGGA's leadership recognizes and deals with member concerns" (43 per cent versus 69 per cent for engineers).
Based on the sample of the general public, 95 per cent indicate that engineers, geologists and geophysicists provide benefits to Albertans. The benefits noted include buildings, housing, oilfields and highways, while geologists and geophysicists were perceived to benefit Alberta in terms of oilfield and economic development.
According to the report from The Advisory Group: "The most significant difference in response perceptions during the 1993 and 1998 survey periods related to job opportunities." Respondents in 1998 were more likely to perceive there to be good job opportunities for engineers as compared to 1993 (86 per cent versus 51 per cent respectively). A similar increase was found for the geology and geophysics professions (64 per cent in 1998 versus 69 per cent in 1993).
The Advisory Group also reported that APEGGA's main strengths, as identified by members, were in setting of membership standards and guidelines as well as in representing the professions to the community at large. Weaknesses identified were a lack of public awareness of the Association and the professions it represents, and a need for greater membership involvement in the Association.
Please check the 1998 Final Report for additional information on the survey.