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Topic Title: Misuse of term 'ENGINEER'
Topic Summary: 'Engineer' Profession and Title
Created On: 01 November 2007 09:34 AM
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 14 February 2008 12:52 PM
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basil.wallace

Posts: 219
Joined: 01 April 2006

Originally posted by: g3xoi

Another point they might consider is to award the prenominal "Engineer", [to be written "Eng"] to all who qualify by being CEng, IEng or EngTech. This is, I understand, common in Germany. If that form of words is not "patentable", perhaps UKEng to parallel EurIng.


Alan's proposal is an excellent idea. At least it would distinguish us as UKEng regardless of professional registration with ECUK as CEng, IEng or EngTech from those which misuse the term 'Engineer' and put us in a poor light.

--------------------------------
Basil Wallace PgDip EngTech MIET
 14 February 2008 01:11 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: davidtennyson
An engineer is someone who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.[1] Engineers use technology, mathematics, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. People who work as engineers typically have an academic degree (or equivalent work experience) in one of the engineering disciplines.

The first sentance is probably true. The rest is how professional enginers would use the term, but not how it is generally used. Hence the problem!

Couldnt the problem be solved by engineers who have a certain proffesional attainment stating that they are a "chartered engineer" for example, instead of just emplying that they are an "engineer"? Or you could go one further and start adressing yourself with your letters after your name, as is your right.
Surely this is not such a difficult problem to solve if you really are so wound up about it?

Unfortunately the majority of professional engineers are not CEng/IEng so do not have this opportunity. (Although I suppose you could say that's their problem!)

This debate has raged for forty years at least that I'm aware of, so yes, it is a difficult problem. People who can tell the difference between David Beckham and Fred who plays in the Chipping Sodbury Sunday League, or between Richard Branson and Bill who runs the corner shop simply cannot tell the difference between different levels of engineering and it does tend to devalue the whole industry, i.e. we all get seen as the lowest common denominator. When the main BBC news refers to "engineers on strike" when they mean "mechanics on strike" the issue becomes clear.

I've always got around this by trying to describe my job in terms that people outside the industry might understand, I used to describe myself as an "electronics designer", I now introduce myself as "managing a team of design engineers". And yes, I do use the CEng title outside the industry, although I hardly ever use it inside.

If you want to measure the scale of this issue (i.e. how much we should get "wound up" about it) you could look at this scenario: if a company is assembling a board of directors will they see the senior engineering staff at the same professional level as the senior accountancy staff, senior sales staff, senior HR staff?

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 14 February 2008 03:49 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
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Originally posted by: davidtennyson
Ok, it would seem that the real problem lies with the term "engineer" itself.

An engineer is someone who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.[1] Engineers use technology, mathematics, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. People who work as engineers typically have an academic degree (or equivalent work experience) in one of the engineering disciplines.

The above definition appears to have a wide scope and would include a wide variety of trades as well as an "engineer" who has formally gained a degree or learned through practical experience.

Couldnt the problem be solved by engineers who have a certain proffesional attainment stating that they are a "chartered engineer" for example, instead of just emplying that they are an "engineer"? Or you could go one further and start adressing yourself with your letters after your name, as is your right.

Surely this is not such a difficult problem to solve if you really are so wound up about it?

I entirely agree with your statement above. You have correctly identified the problem and found the solution.

The reason why this has been raging on for many years is because we want it to carry on indefinitely due to our inadequacies and anxieties. Just like OCD patients who repeat their actions in order to relieve their lack of self confidence and anxiety.

The reason why Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants and others are more recognised than Engineers, is because they constantly talk about themselves and in turn the media constantly talk about them. So the public become more tuned to these professionals. We don't do the same and therefore pay the price for lack of recognition.

It is not up to the public to take the initiative, but for Engineers to do so. Writting letters before or after one's name isn't going to make a blind bit of difference.

Edited: 14 February 2008 at 05:45 PM by mbirdi
 15 February 2008 09:08 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: mbirdi
I entirely agree with your statement above. You have correctly identified the problem and found the solution.
[...]
Writting letters before or after one's name isn't going to make a blind bit of difference.


Sorry Mehmood, I'm a bit confused as to whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with David? Might be just too early in the morning for me...

Re publicising ourselves better, I was thinking about this whilst driving to work this morning, I do wonder if the trap we're caught in is that because engineers don't have respect then any attempt to publicise ourself also gets treated with disrespect?? I vividly remember a case years back where a newsreader used the term "engineers" to refer to unskilled staff, and the next day joked about the number of whining professional engineers who'd phoned in to complain. There was not a high level of remorse shown! Not that I'm saying that we shouldn't keep chipping away where we can.

There are of course many other issues (I have quite a long drive to work so I had time to think about this!) One of the biggies is that compared with other professions very few engineers are self-employed/partners/directors. It's the nature of the job: a solicitor (say) can set themselves up in practice, an engineer is far more likely to be part of a large organisation. And so this also sets us on a different footing from most professionals (except teachers - but then they suffer from severe lack of respect to!) I had to visit my dentist last night, and noticed the new flash car parked outside. But the reason he can afford it is not so much because he is a dentist as because he runs his own business.

Final thought to David before I'd really better get some engineering done - it is a minor whinge compared to, say, global warming, overpopulation, or religous intolerance. But a) there is a limited amount of value we can add in discussing those issues on this forum and b) given that (for better or worse) we live in a society totally dependent on technology I believe that the general lack of understanding of where that technology comes from has some importance.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 15 February 2008 12:09 PM
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jcolquhoun

Posts: 487
Joined: 21 September 2001

That was a bit short and to the point from the EC

Why in that case do we not push for all IEng and CEng to apply for EurIng prenoms?

It has the advantage of being an existing European wide designation and is protected by statute. I know that there is no problem in applying for it if you are CEng but think there are discussions in place to accept IEng as well.

Would this be the way forward?

-------------------------
Eur Ing John Colquhoun CEng MIET
Si Je Puis
Clarior Hinc Honos
Operations Manager - Telecommunications (Scotland) <img src="/forums/forum/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif" border="0">
 15 February 2008 01:22 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
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Originally posted by: amillar
Originally posted by: mbirdi
I entirely agree with your statement above. You have correctly identified the problem and found the solution.
[...]

Writting letters before or after one's name isn't going to make a blind bit of difference.

Sorry Mehmood, I'm a bit confused as to whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with David? Might be just too early in the morning for me...

I agreed with David's point about describing oneself as a Chartered Engineer rather than fighting over the word Engineer with the general public. I suggested also that this was a better way of self promotion than relying on pre or post nominals to obtain recognition.
 15 February 2008 01:43 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: g3xoi
As well as posting on this thread on 4 February 2008 12:14 PM, I also contacted ECUK. This is their reply:-
Dear Eur Ing Gordon,

Thank you for your comments regarding pre-nominal designations.

With regard to a prenominal designation of 'Engineer', I note your suggestion but this is unlikely to be adopted in the UK.

Regards,

Chris Simpson

Director of Registration and Finance

ECUK

Taking the OCD example here. Now that we have obtained relief from our obsession of wanting to protect the title of Engineer, it will only be a matter of weeks (or even days) before the pressure builds up again and we're back on the treadmill asking the same question.

Is there a Doctor in the house who could offer a cure???

Edited: 15 February 2008 at 01:44 PM by mbirdi
 15 February 2008 03:01 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
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Originally posted by: g3xoi
it will only be a matter of weeks (or even days) before the pressure builds up again and we're back on the treadmill asking the same question.

Would that be the question about IEng and EngTech being Chartered? I forget, which are you, please?

Oh that would be the matter of protecting the title of Engineer. As for IEng, well I'd say it's about to receive its long awaited cure.

Edited: 15 February 2008 at 03:26 PM by mbirdi
 15 February 2008 06:18 PM
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AncientMariner

Posts: 511
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I have moved this post from the Savoy Place Virtual Club - 'Chartered Certified Engineer' thread since I realise that it is more applicable here.

There is actually an an individual known to me, who titles himself in the form:- Engineer John Smith BSc(Hon)IEng MIIE(mech) He even includes ENG in his signature. That is NOT is real name and the letter head is dated 2004, so I guess it is now MIET instead of MIIE(mech). However, he has in my presence insisted, or tried to insist, on being addressed as Engineer as a witness both before a District Judge and a Public Inquiry Inspector. It has actually been suggested that he may have changed his name by deed poll to include Engineer!

-------------------------
Clive S Carver GCGI IEng MIET
 18 February 2008 07:55 AM
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Aitken1953

Posts: 140
Joined: 25 June 2006

Think this one should be on The Institute of Psych.
Forum
 18 February 2008 08:32 AM
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Aitken1953

Posts: 140
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Guess
 18 February 2008 08:54 AM
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Aitken1953

Posts: 140
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I an sure we have.



Aitken FIET
 19 February 2008 08:29 PM
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basil.wallace

Posts: 219
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Originally posted by: mbirdi

The title of Engineer isn't protected by law. So I wouldn't have thought it is a matter of concern to the IET, ECUK or the ETB if anyone wants to call themselves Engineer.


In addition, the title of "engineer" is increasingly used to describe trades such as electricians, motor mechanics, gas fitters etc in addition to those engaged in professional engineering.
--------------------------------
Basil Wallace PgDip EngTech MIET
 22 February 2008 09:40 AM
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davidtennyson

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I feel that this debate has reached ridiculous proportions. If a group of proffesional, educated and respected ladies and gentlemen cannot reach a conclusion on this, then what hope do we have? Scenes like this really do undermine the term "engineer".
I wonder if doctors get upset when someone outside the medical proffession obtains a doctorate???? No doubt Ive started another OCD outbust.
 25 February 2008 10:32 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: davidtennyson
I wonder if doctors get upset when someone outside the medical proffession obtains a doctorate????

No, but they do get very upset when people with no qualifications set themselves up in medical practice and call themselves 'Dr'. Whereas we can get as upset as we like about Comet calling their washing machine delivery people "engineers", but in our case there's nothing we can do about it. Hence the frustration.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 29 February 2008 12:24 AM
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DavidLenaghan

Posts: 182
Joined: 16 January 2002

Dear all,

I received this in my e-mail inbox yesterday. Did any of you sign the petition?
What do you think of the government response?

All the best

David

===========================================================================

You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to "Professional Status For Engineers and Engineering."

The Prime Minister's Office has responded to that petition and you can view it here:

http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page14749.asp

Prime Minister's Office

Petition information - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Engineer-Status/

If you would like to opt out of receiving further mail on this or any other petitions you signed, please email optout@petitions.pm.gov.uk

-------------------------
David Lenaghan
 29 February 2008 12:02 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

It would not be practical or appropriate for the Government to attempt to introduce new legislation on this matter.

Sorry all here, but I agree with this statement (in relation to this particular proposal).

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 29 February 2008 12:26 PM
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danielscott

Posts: 461
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No surprised at all by the government response. The proposer did after all also raise the question about younger persons entering our profession and this opened up the door for their political rantings about how much money they are spending on SET.

The response regarding the "engineer" designation was what I had expected. Short and to the point.

Daniel
 12 October 2009 10:04 AM
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cedricjw

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Dear Chief Executive

I would like to know what action our Institution and its sister Institutions - the Engineering Profession - are taking to reinforce and safeguard our professional status as Engineers.

I am specifically prompted to make my enquiry and to relate it to the more wide ranging issue of whether or not Advertising Standards are being breached by the current advertisement placed by British Gas, an example of which was flashing up in front of me whilst I tackled breakfast at my Hotel in Kensington recently.

The British Gas advert contends that it employs 7,000 'Engineers' and that this ensures that any and all the general public's boiler emergencies can be dealt with very quickly.

The advert is illustrated with many small blue vans typical of those used by British Gas's valiant, hardworking and well trained team of Maintenance Technicians.

Are we actually satisfied to accept this denigration of the term 'Engineer' or are the Professional Institutions doing or going to do anything to protect our professional status from these inaccuracies and to address the Public's perception of our worth/position in society?

Is there any possible redress available through the Advertising Standards Watchdog??

If the Profession does not act or voice its opinions, through the medium of the Institutions, then why should we wonder that the profession itself is struggling to attract the best amongst current and future talent in the face of competition from other (more august??) professions such as Medicine, Science, Architecture, etc which are percieved as higher status professions to enter?

I'd appreciate your views on this issue and your positive response to my and I'm sure, the concerns of the many (quiet) others that populate our profession.

Best regards

John Waugh, BSc., C.Eng, MIET.
 12 October 2009 10:04 AM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

John, There is already a thread on this subject for you to follow.

{Edit: threads now combined by moderator}

Here are details of the petition to the Prime Minister and Minutes of evidence taken before the UNIVERSITIES, SCIENCE AND SKILLS COMMITTEE. Scroll down to Q161 to find evidence given on the protection of title of 'Engineer'.

Basically the bottom line is that 'Engineer' is practically impossible to protect and that you should describe yourself as 'Chartered Engineer' to distinguish your professional status from those who are just plain Engineers.

Hope that helps.
IET » Savoy Place Virtual Club » Misuse of term 'ENGINEER'

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