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Topic Title: Epetition to protect 'Engineer' title
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Created On: 19 December 2011 09:22 PM
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 19 December 2011 09:22 PM
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RobertBrown82

Posts: 94
Joined: 24 January 2007

What do you think of this?

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/6271

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 20 December 2011 08:26 AM
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ectophile

Posts: 539
Joined: 17 September 2001

The term "engineer" has been used for so long now, for so many different trades, that I think the endless discussions about "protecting" the title are futile.

It's about as likely to succeed as the Chartered Institute of Building getting the term "builder" protected so that only their members can use it.

Edit: I notice that the petition uses the term "doctor" as an example. That's a particularly odd example to use. I can quite legitimately call myself "doctor" even though the highest medical qualification I have ever held is a first aid certificate (and even that has expired). Meanwhile, most "doctors" do not hold a doctorate in anything.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET

Edited: 20 December 2011 at 12:48 PM by ectophile
 31 March 2012 07:40 AM
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PSJandu

Posts: 1
Joined: 05 March 2010

Perhaps its good someone has taken the initiative. Does anyone know what is the IET take on this topic?
Eventually i hope it is more about making Engineering more 'attractive' to fill in the skill gaps
 31 March 2012 06:30 PM
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gkenyon

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Joined: 06 May 2002

I don't agree with this petition because it has a number of errors and misleading statements.

For example, the title "Doctor" is not restricted to the medical profession as implied; further the titles "Chartered Engineer" and "Incorporated Engineer", are legally protected in the same way that the various titles in Architecture and other professions are protected.

Why don't those who want a "better lot" out of Engineering put their efforts into what we have got, rather than moaning about a situation which may well have been constributed to by Engineers themselves: because Engineers don't sell themselves well, are often swift to criticise, and like to talk to "non engineers" in acronyms and other terms that those outside the profession don't understand (and hence may make them feel "small" or insulted).

Come on, let's help us to help ourselves. Stop moaning and get on with it.

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 31 March 2012 11:19 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I note on the epetitions website that at least two almost identical petitions have been rejected with the following note:
This would be a matter for the existing professional bodies (eg The Institution of Civil Engineers or The Institute of Structural Engineers etc etc)


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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
 20 September 2013 09:49 AM
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MartinGoose

Posts: 2
Joined: 01 May 2008

The topic is back again. 27,901 supporters last time.:
<Link removed/44889>


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Martin Goose CEng FIChemE
 23 September 2013 01:53 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I'm assuming this is the epetition "Protect the title of 'Engineer' for Professionals" (apologies if not).

Remembering that:
Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined.

("Law" from Wikipedia - pretty good concise definition)

Let's test the justification in this petition - which is pretty typical - against that:

Protecting the title will:
-Increase the salaries of Engineers

Jolly nice for engineers! It isn't made clear how this will prevent "harm to social order" though.

-Increase the respect society will have for Engineers

Ditto

-Increase the number of youngsters wanting to pursue careers in Engineering

Is this really a valid use of criminal law? If the industry wants good students to apply for it then it needs to attract them with good salaries and attractive jobs. In any case, remember Chartered Engineer is legally protected, this doesn't stop a huge percentage of our top engineering graduates (and hence potential CEngs) heading for jobs in the city with no legal title protection.

-Increase the reputation of British Engineers once more

For one thing, Matthew 7:20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." If our engineering is good that is what will get noticed. But in any case, the petitioner needs to explain how the lack of this law will cause a damage to society, which may - of course - in turn damage our reputation.


For at least 30 years (as long as I've been an engineer) people have argued for legal protection of the title, but nearly always to boost their own self-interest - "it should be protected so that I earn lots of money and people will doff their hats to me". That is not what legal protection is for. If anyone can show that the title needs to be protected to prevent harm to the public, to society as a whole, or to the environment then a petition might be useful and might get somewhere.

A nice irony is that there are plenty of engineering roles that are protected by law (for public safety reasons), but which are carried out by people who would not be seen by many signers of petitions such as this as "engineers"! So my cooker is fitted by a Gas Safe registered fitter and plugged into a socket fitted by a Part P qualified electrician. Meanwhile I, with no legal protection for my job title (I don't have to be CEng), can and do sign off the safety of railway signalling equipment with the potential to put hundreds of lives at risk at a time (I'm assuming if I've got it wrong the first accident will probably get noticed!) So what's the difference? Simply that it is my employer who is responsible for ensuring that I am competent to carry out my work, and their liability is seen to be - and probably is - adequately covered by the HASAW act. No additional legislation is seen to be required to protect the public from "conduct that is considered harmful to social order".

In fact, one starts to wonder where the value is in protecting CEng and IEng...

If we want to make a change, we have to first understand how things work now, where the real risk to "social order" is, and why the change has never happened before. Otherwise we just come over as a bunch of whingers. Which of course is my real point in writing all this.

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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

Edited: 23 September 2013 at 02:01 PM by amillar
 23 September 2013 07:50 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Registered engineers are, on the whole, company based employees who work as part of teams, and so cannot be solely entitled to have protection of the title 'Engineer', without other members in the team (not necessarily registered with any institutions) being entitled to the same protection. In other words CEngs, IEng and EngTechs work as team members and make collective decisions with the team rather than independent decisions. CEng or IEng engineers employed by companies are not required to take out indemnity insurance. The company takes responsibility for mistakes.
 24 September 2013 11:14 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
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As ever, Mehmood, you've explained it much more neatly than I did!

Another point (really the most important) that I thought of a bit later, note that this petitioner did not call for "regulation" of engineering, only "protection". In practice protection of titles is a side effect of working in a regulated industry.

Coming back to my point above, CEng is protected because it is regulated - if I act in a negligent way the IET or EC can remove my CEng and I can be prosecuted if I pretend I still have it. Unfortunately in practice not having CEng wouldn't stop me getting a job in a critical function(at least none that I've yet come across), so it is questionable whether this has any "teeth". Fortunately as Mehmood and I have said above there are other protection methods in place which appear to be satisfactory. If they are not then the answer would be to say that "for an xyz job a CEng or IEng must be employed" which uses the existing legal protection and control systems. Or, more practically and requiring no change in legislation, employers decide that a way to help show their compliance to HASAW act is to only employ CEng / IEng to key engineering roles.

As a comparison, you don't have to be Chartered or Certified to call yourself an accountant. But as I understand it you are unlikely to get work unless you are a Chartered or Certified Accountant because your employer would not be showing due financial diligence by employing unregistered staff. In engineering we have been much slacker about regulating ourselves, and - presumably because fortunately we don't make enough mistakes - the courts do not seem to have pushed us on this much.

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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

Edited: 24 September 2013 at 12:02 PM by amillar
 24 September 2013 12:31 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: amillar
As a comparison, you don't have to be Chartered or Certified to call yourself an accountant. But as I understand it you are unlikely to get work unless you are a Chartered or Certified Accountant because your employer would not be showing due financial diligence by employing unregistered staff. In engineering we have been much slacker about regulating ourselves, and - presumably because fortunately we don't make enough mistakes - the courts do not seem to have pushed us on this much.

If an accountant makes a mistake it may cost the treasury some tax whereas if an engineer makes a mistake generally it does not. Many of the laws which have been drafted over centuries/decades have been about protecting the property and finances of the wealthy. The relatively more recent Health and Safety related laws regulate the important areas with regards to protecting people's safety/health and are quite clear on the requirements for people to be properly trained, supervised, managed, etc., and in many areas to be competent. An engineer working for a company is directly regulated by his/her company and indirectly regulated by the laws of the country. IEng/CEng are just one measure of competency.

Engineers are highly regulated, it's just they do not see all the regulation. You are regulated by statute law and common law. With regards to engineers making mistakes, plenty do and are sanctioned by their companies.

Regards.

Edited: 24 September 2013 at 06:06 PM by westonpa
 24 September 2013 08:04 PM
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jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Many a time my son has said that protecting the title of engineer has the potential to open up a can of worms.The biggest danger is that it could stop certain people from practising engineering as an occupation which would be a severe blow to their careers and the economy. Be careful what you wish for...
 16 October 2013 10:32 AM
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davezawadi

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Joined: 26 June 2002

Protecting the title "Engineer" will never work in this country, because there is far too much history of its abuse.

The term "Chartered Engineer" has much to commend it, and we should use it widely, and certainly protect its value in the market place. The IET might like to consider publicity (perhaps with the other Engineering Institutions) to bring it to public prominence.

Partly it is the fault of many Chartered Engineers that the term has insufficient prominence, when did you last see one presenting a TV or radio programme on aspects of engineering? When did we have a non-academic presenting the Royal Institution Christmas lecture?

It is not that we are not necessary, it is that we are in many cases rather quiet and slightly shy, and prefer to just get on with our jobs rather than seek any praise from society. Image comes from a tricky mixture of success combined with publicity, ability combined with visible result, and these tend not to be the attributes which Engineers are willing to publicise.

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David
CEng etc, don't ask, its a result not a question!
 16 October 2013 09:10 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3119
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It would be nice, but it wont work.

The other day i was behind a transit connect van with ' I am a Dyson Engineer' written on the back, and lots of other corporate mumbo jumbo.
What level do you have to be to be to service a hoover with more form than function, level 2?? Sigh............

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