SQEP: What Is a Suitably Qualified Experienced Person

SQEP: What Is a Suitably Qualified Experienced Person

In highly technical and sometimes high-risk industries, the term ‘SQEP’ has become an essential standard for job roles. SQEP is indispensable in fields where precision and expertise must always be upheld.

In this post we will dive into the meaning of SQEP, exploring its relevance and application across various industries. You will also learn how to assess people as a SQEP.

Uncover why this standard is pivotal in maintaining operational excellence and safety in high-stakes industries.

Definition & Origin of SQEP

What Is a SQEP?

A SQEP is an acronym for “Suitably Qualified and Experienced Person”. It refers to someone with the qualifications and experience to fulfil the responsibilities of specific roles competently.

Origins of SQEP

The term was originally used in the United Kingdom’s nuclear power industry. It was developed to fill in roles that required the utmost competence. These roles were positioned in environments where safety, reliability, and precision must always be maintained. The term “SQEP” has since been adopted by many industries using their own requirements. However, it continues to be founded upon the values of stringent safety and operational excellence.

sqep scientist

Attributes of a SQEP

Across all industries, a SQEP must possess common required traits. These generally include educational qualifications and practical experience. These attributes ensure that a person is technically capable. They must also be able to apply their skills effectively in their specific industry context.

A SQEP must also have personal and professional characteristics, such as:

1. Relevant Qualifications & Experience

Possessing relevant qualifications and experience is a cornerstone attribute for a Suitably Qualified and Experienced Person (SQEP). This includes having the right educational background, such as degrees or specialised certifications, relevant to the specific specific field. However, qualifications alone aren’t enough; hands-on experience is equally vital. This experience allows a SQEP to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, enhancing their ability to handle complex tasks efficiently and effectively.

2. Up-to-date Knowledge

In the rapidly evolving landscape of professional sectors, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is an important attribute of a SQEP. CPD involves actively keeping skills and knowledge up-to-date, ensuring alignment with the current standards of their field. For a SQEP, CPD is not just a requirement but a responsibility – especially in technology-driven industries.

3. Analytical Skills

Analytical skills refer to the ability to analyse complex situations, identify problems, and develop effective solutions. Environments that require quick and accurate decision-making must see a SQEP with reliable problem-solving skills.

4. Communication Skills

Solid communication skills mean proficiency in clear and effective expression verbally and in writing. A SQEP must be competent to explain complex concepts and collaborate with various persons.

5. Attention to Detail

Small errors in some industries may have significant consequences. Thus, a SQEP must be meticulous in approaching work. This attitude ensures accuracy and precision in decision-making.

6. Ethical Judgment and Integrity

A SQEP will have to handle safety-critical or confidential tasks as part of their roles. For these, they must commit and comply with professional and ethical standards.

7. Leadership and Teamwork Skills

Some SQEPs may be positioned at high levels in the organisational hierarchy. In these roles, pulling the team together can be crucial. They must be able to work together effectively. Thus, leadership qualities are vital for a SQEP.

8. Accountability

Accountability is an often overlooked but important attribute for a SQEP. It represents more than just taking responsibility for one’s actions; it involves a deep sense of ownership over the outcomes of those actions, especially in critical decision-making situations. A SQEP with strong accountability acknowledges their role’s significance, understanding that their decisions and work quality can have far-reaching implications. This attribute is crucial in fostering trust and reliability within a team and with external stakeholders.

SQEP in Different Industries

Beyond the common traits a SQEP must possess regardless of the industry, specific requirements must be complied with to fully designate a person as a SQEP for a particular sector. These specific requirements highlight the unique challenges and risks inherent in each industry. Examples of industries and their specific SQEP requirements are:

suitably qualified scientist woman

Nuclear Industry

A SQEP in the nuclear power industry must:

  • Have a comprehensive knowledge of nuclear physics and engineering.
  • Fully grasp the principles and regulatory framework for nuclear safety.
  • Have experience in nuclear facility operations.
  • Have experience in safety management and emergency response is also crucial.

Oil and Gas Industry

In the oil and gas industry, a SQEP should have:

  • Expertise in petroleum engineering, geology and drilling operations.
  • Worked in offshore or onshore oil and gas extraction – for safety reasons.
  • Experience in pipeline management or environmental protection may also be given weight.
  • Understand the unique standards of the industry and know how to fulfil them.

Construction Industry

Construction SQEPs should have:

  • Education and training in structural engineering, architecture or urban planning
  • Handled large-scale construction projects before.
  • Complied with safety regulations and quality assurance standards, too.
  • Knowledge of building codes, materials testing, and project management.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

In the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry, qualified persons should have:

  • Medical or pharmaceutical backgrounds.
  • Experience in clinical research, healthcare administration, or regulatory compliance.
  • Knowledge of medical ethics, patient safety standards and clinical protocols.

Information Security and Cybersecurity

An Information Security and Cybersecurity SQEP must be:

  • Proficient in computer science, information systems, or cybersecurity.
  • Experienced in developing software, securing networks, and protecting data.
  • Familiar with IT governance, risk management, and cybersecurity frameworks.

How Do You Assess a Person as a SQEP?

Now, you may be in a sector that needs a SQEP and want to find the right person. The assessment process is straightforward, taking multiple steps to ensure you find a SQEP among your applicants. You have to take the following steps:

1. Check Educational Qualifications

Foundational are academic credentials and professional certifications. You can ensure that qualifications are relevant to your sector and the role you need the SQEP in. Also, verify the relevant licenses and certifications specific to the industry.

2. Trace Work Experience

After qualifications come work experience, which must also be relevant to your sector and the role available. Experience must be in related positions and fields. At the same time, consider the complexity and scale of previous projects to gauge the skill and competency level of the candidate.

3. Assess Skills and Competencies

Skills and competencies are crucial, even with educational qualifications and work experience. Check technical skills with tests, simulations, or practical demonstrations. Evaluate power skills like communication, leadership, and problem-solving.

You can also zoom in on more specific skills integral to a role’s performance. Competencies must also be examined regarding common and complex situations that may be encountered in the role. You can review your organisation’s and candidates’ skills and competencies with our free skills matrix and competency matrix.

4. Ensure Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management

Compliance with regulatory requirements and safety standards must also be ensured. A candidate must have a deep knowledge of fundamental guidelines and regulations.

You must also evaluate the candidate’s ability to identify, assess, and manage risks. In high-stakes and technical sectors, an SQEP must have solid risk management skills to prevent emergencies and minimise hazards. You can use a risk management matrix to understand how a candidate thinks about emergencies and injuries.

5. Evaluate Cultural Fit and Personal Attributes

Finally, you can look at a candidate’s personal attributes and your organisational culture for a snug fit. Although cultural fit must only be a minor factor in considering a candidate as an SQEP, it’s still quite significant.

The candidate must still be able to align with your organisation. Cultural fit is the factor that makes educational qualifications, work experience, and skills advantageous and beneficial to the company.

Are Your People SQEP?

You can assess candidates meticulously to find the SQEP for vacant roles. However, you can also evaluate your present employees if they are SQEP in their positions. Following the assessment criteria above, you can determine who is a SQEP for essential roles and responsibilities.

Cloud Assess is an assessment tool software that can help you evaluate. You can look at employee and candidate skills, capabilities, and competencies. The data may then be presented in easy-to-comprehend visualisations to inform your decision-making. You can try it out and find the SQEP for your organisation.

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