The Minister for Energy Freya van den Bossche, on Thursday, November 27, 2013, declared at the Energy Commission of the Flemish Parliament that it is her intention to impose compulsory examination for all the new EPC-experts. The Discussion Platform Energy Experts (OVED) wasn’t happy over her statement.
“When you get your driver’s license, you’re not expected to take a new driving test after five years, are you? The law doesn’t provide any guarantee of quality, but the energy experts are not to be blamed for that. More over the central exam is only a snapshot and only a system of continuous education could lead to quality!” Says Secretary Jochen De Smet.
Since January 2013, new candidate energy experts are obliged to do a central exam. That is a good thing. There’s a uniform check of the knowledge of all new energy experts. Only 40% of these candidate energy experts pass the exam. OVED was really surprised by these results. Either something is wrong with the training of energy experts or something is wrong with the central exam. As long as this is not clarified the Minister of State cannot consider making the exam mandatory for all 5800 energy experts!
Overlegplatform voor Energiedeskundigen – OVED (The Discussion platform for energy experts) recently conducted a survey among 741 energy experts. Nearly 13% of all recognized energy experts completed the survey. 81% of the energy experts is opposed to the central examination. The 471 respondents all together added more than 50 pages of comments to their answers. These comments clearly show that energy experts do not want a mandatory central exam. 95% of respondents is proponent of continuous professional development.
OVED has already offered more than 20 hours of continuous professional development per energy expert. Although a thorough training and exam is necessary, continuous professional development will lead to better results (even on the short term).
OVED is currently working on the professionalization of the energy expert by drafting standard contracts, organizing monthly trainings, arranging a qualitative insurance policy and so on. OVED will present a quality label for the energy experts in 2014. The Flemish Energy Agency has already offered her cooperation. It is particularly unfortunate that the Minister of State now hinders these plans for the sector with an initiative that will not lead to higher quality, neither on the short, nor on the middle or long term.