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Topic Title: New IEng registrants
Topic Summary: The level of new IEng registrants appears to be declining
Created On: 14 December 2012 09:36 AM
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 16 February 2013 03:14 PM
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DavidParr

Posts: 242
Joined: 19 April 2002

The requirements were relaxed in the sense that the unfairness was removed, and excellent engineers who, thirty years didn't happen to achieve the correct formal qualification at the right university, can now be recognised with chartership.

Standards, however, have certainly been maintained. Potential candidates without the correct exemplifying qualification have to demonstate that they are working at the required level, and the system is rigourous.

There are certainly more members being registered, but for the right reasons.

Regards,

-------------------------
David Parr BSc.CEng MIET
PRA
 16 February 2013 03:15 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: roybowdler
These describe a common perception although Andy's response illustrates that things have moved on in the IET (although not in every institution).

That is because many institutions have higher standards than the IET and wish to retain them. BMA, IOSH to name but two.
Most of the engineering leaders were unregistered because they typically had HNC/HND. They could have gained IEng but because of the negative perceptions you describe they just didn't bother.

On the other hand maybe they did not see the value in registering and maybe once their employer offered to pay for it they no longer had the same concerns. Maybe the 'negative perception' was just a figment of someones imagination.
This was probably just as well, because nothing could have more clearly illustrated the illogical proposition that was being promoted by Engineering Council and the Professional Institutions (and is still perpetuated by a few)

Maybe the few are correct, after they have maintained their positions and it is the IET who have changed theirs. If the IET was not correct before then who is to say it is correct now?
Following discussions with the business it was easy to identify that some of the engineering leaders were world class experts (others were just excellent engineers) and all this group are now CEng registered following IET assessment.

And are their decisions any better following that registration? As you mention business responsibility, if they make a poor decision and end up before the judge will the business then say well, we took our advice from a CEng.....he only gained CEng shortly before the decision but surely your honour that he is now a CEng it is the IET's fault because after all they said he was competent.
One business benefit is that customers, regulators and liability insurers can see how risk is managed by competent people, signed up to a code of conduct.

Why is it then that most employers still ask for HNC's, BSc's, MSc's etc., and hardly any ask for IEng and CEng? Why is it that regulators speak about competency and yet in laws and approved codes of practice etc., they do not suggest this can be acheived by signing up to a code of conduct? What about the MP's, banks, press, police, etc., code of conduct, how have those code's of conduct been doing over the last few years? You write like a salesperson instead of an engineer, there is no proof to suggest that IEng or CEng registered engineers are any more competent or otherwise make less mistakes than are/do non registered engineers. Business on the whole does not see the benefits you state and hence on the whole does not require it and regulators certainly do not see the benefits you state and hence 99.999% of law does not require it. In the areas where these things are required they mostly, not all, also require a minimum of a degree in addition to relevant work experience. If you want to take a look at how the authorities see competency then you will find that being a registered engineer hardly figures in it and neither does being signed up to some voluntary code of conduct.
This group led the development of ground breaking, high risk and high value technology. The main competence required for this type of work is CEng.

No, actually the competency requirements were all those competencies which were required to gain CEng because CEng is just a status and does not make people competent. CEng is not a competency, it's a professional status.
It is possible and not uncommon for people to transfer from Technician to IEng, or IEng to CEng, depending on their career path but it is ridiculous to suggest that every professional should be "progressing to CEng".

How many transfer from CEng to IEng then?
We are making progress on rebuilding new IEng registrants , although we need to get the average age down because the average age of a new IEng is currently higher than a new CEng.

Surely the target should be to ensure the correct competency rather than trying to lower the age? Maybe the IET could shorten the requirement for work experience and that would get the age down a bit......then the 'we have moved on whereas a few have not' argument could be used to sell it.
In the end, the only defence to the silly myths that some people attach to IEng is meeting the real thing.

We cannot really meet IEng can we, it's a status and exists in a sort of virtual world. We can meet a person of course but then we are not talking about the person Roy, we are talking about the status. What pmiller is saying is that the number of IEng registrants appears to be declining and what we are suggesting is that its status is seen as less than CEng. We are not suggesting that one person is less of a person than another. CEng has a good brand IEng does not. Let's start thinking outside the box and include more into the IEng package.

Regards.
 16 February 2013 03:24 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: DavidParr
The requirements were relaxed in the sense that the unfairness was removed, and excellent engineers who, thirty years didn't happen to achieve the correct formal qualification at the right university, can now be recognised with chartership.

Ah so now it is about fairness....I understand.
Standards, however, have certainly been maintained. Potential candidates without the correct exemplifying qualification have to demonstate that they are working at the required level, and the system is rigourous.

What testing and examination is carried out on this work experience and how does that compare with the testing and examination carried out for the exemplifying qualifications? By the way I am not suggesting someone should get CEng with only a degree, they should have relevant work experience as well.

There are certainly more members being registered, but for the right reasons.

Maybe no maybe yes, I will conceed that it is possible you are correct.

Regards.
 17 February 2013 03:19 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: roybowdler
Managers making engineering decisions rely on expert advice, indemnified by the vicarious liability of their employer. If they chose to eschew such advice they risk dismissal or possibly personal prosecution.

This is an interesting point because let us pretend that this manager was being personally prosecuted. They would then be in essence judged by their peers, i.e., fellow managers who would be required to give opinions on how they would have acted or else how the manager should have acted in order to have acted as a reasonable person would have. Generally it has been found that an unreasonable person would either not be taking advice or else not listening to advice no matter who it came from and so it does not really support the point as to whether IEng or CEng advice is the better of the two.

If the court had to check what IEng or CEng was actually about in order to understand who would have given the better advice then I think they would have the same difficulty as the public in actually understanding what the differences are because let's be honest to this day there is no clear differences between them. The IET and EC put so much waffle into their descriptions and this is to disguise the fact that they do not know the differences between them themselves.

However, if we look to the role of 'expert witness' in a court case and in negligence cases etc., we can see that the definition given by the government is:

"A skilled witness is a person who
through practice, or study, or both,
is specially qualified in a recognised
branch of knowledge, whether it be
art, science or craft".

They go onto say:

"The obligations which apply to you as an
expert are to assist in ensuring that the
Crown can comply fully with their statutory
disclosure obligations. These obligations
take precedence over any internal codes
of practice or other standards
set by any
professional organisations
to which you
may belong."

Sort of says that being an expert is more about your expertise rather than 'codes of conduct' and/or 'professional registration'.

Regards.
 18 February 2013 09:39 PM
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roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

westonpa

A comprehensive set of responses! With apologies I lack the time at present to address each point individually, but picking up on a few.

I come from a perspective of wanting to increase the numbers of new registrants at an earlier career point, in particular IEng. However to achieve this at the expense of quality, or by having a negative impact on other types of registrations would be self-defeating.

The IET carries out a process to assess competence at a point in time and gives an award for success in the form of a professional title. As with anything in life there is scope for debate about quality versus price, but the process is thorough and conducted with integrity. It isn't designed to assess a persons fitness to carry out a specific task, but it does provide useful independent scrutiny which has value. Since the cost is relatively modest, I would argue that it is a good value and useful tool. However in the context of this debate, I would accept that gaining an IEng award has been undervalued, which suggests that for many employers the marketing value of employing registrants may be greater than the technical one.

I haven't researched the numbers of Engineers "struck off", but what proportion of Medical professionals are subjected to this sanction? I suspect a handful, but its all over the news. By voluntarily engaging in registration a person may also have a greater propensity for professional conduct, which HR might argue results in potentially greater "discretionary effort".

A business benefit is not a "requirement". Requirements are something imposed, usually at a cost for someone else's benefit. This is part of the reason that I don't support compulsory regulation, except where necessary for public protection. Guidance on "best practice" which might have some value in product liability, due diligence etc is sufficient.

I accept that transfers are in one direction and in the context of the IET interpretation of UK-SPEC IEng/CEng could be in both directions. This would work well if everyone had practical training and built upon Technician competence first, but many CEng would have to be "coal-face" trained in mid-career, something which they could be ill-suited to.

Seen as a "brand" it is self-evident that IEng is weaker than CEng, it was introduced as "subsidiary" and aimed at a different market segment, it became successful and declined for reasons we have debated before. Since its purveyors were the smaller institutions, it did remarkably well at one time and has found some improved fortunes more recently. However the tangible artefact (apart form the certificate and entry on the register) is the person. My argument is that recent IEng registrants are a walking talking advertisement, as well as a counterbalance to any unfair negativity that might be about.

I would much prefer that there was one overarching pre-eminent "brand" to represent professional registrants as a whole. In this context, if someone is a medical doctor only the particularly interested would pursue which type. Professional Engineer (meaning on the register) might be attractive, followed by the type of registration, but no doubt our colleagues in North America would object.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 19 February 2013 08:13 PM
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westonpa

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I think the IET needs to add something to the IEng package that is not currently there so that its value to employers is increased. I will provide a suggestion as an example and maybe it will spark a few ideas. Let us say that the IEng status also represented an up-to-date assessment of an engineers competency along with an up-to-date employment history and reference check. This would mean that if an employer were to employ an IEng they would save themselves having to complete a check on employment history and reference check. Now the IEng ticket would have more value. I do not say that we should do that in particular but am suggesting it to make a point of how to add value to what IEng represents. Why keep IEng as it is when we could add things to it which would increase its value and which in turn would improve its brand.

Regards.
 20 February 2013 03:01 PM
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roybowdler

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I like the idea in principle, the details need thinking through, but seeking to add value through a process definitely hits the spot with me.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 21 February 2013 09:19 PM
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westonpa

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Joined: 10 October 2007

I like the idea because if IEng then has an increased value to a prospective employer then I think they will ask for it more and that in itself will just increase its value further. If that then takes off it will do a lot of good for professional registration in general. Why does IEng just have to represent a level of competency! Time to think outside the box.

Regards.
 26 February 2013 03:40 PM
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roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

The popularity of IEng over time is partly reflected by the age profile. Some losses are as a result of transfers to the CEng section of the register (which might be considered desirable) but should be balanced by Technician transfer to IEng. We have just registered our 1000th IEng in the last three years which is progress and took hard work. However I agree we need to something more fundamental, if we have ambitions for IEng to become the natural "home" for a much higher percentage of professional engineers.

I agree completely with the basic argument of distinctive value.

Unfortunately much design work is carried out by Technicians and Incorporated Engineers, perhaps with CEng involvement in more innovative, complex or high risk areas. Operation and maintenance of established engineered systems such as infrastructure, should be at the "heart of IEng" (and Technician) with a smaller proportion of CEng registrants.

I find it very difficult to exclude certain types of registrants on any kind of "blanket" basis, such as sector or type of work. Albeit that a situation has arisen where IEng and Technician registrants have effectively become excluded from some in practice. On a case-by-case basis there are good reasons why a particular type of registration is an advantage.

I would certainly support messages that emphasised the positive virtues of each registration category, in relation to real examples of actual job roles. However I think that it would perpetuate a historic mistake to seek advantage for one type of registration at the expense of another. I also don't think it is sensible to argue, that boundaries suggested by holding one category of registration are so perfect, that they render another category unsuitable. There is more Grey than Black & White in this argument.

If we really want to make the current system work well, then being an assessed and registered member of the professional community, has to be the most fundamental component of respect. A secondary consideration, are the distinctive characteristics exemplified by each type of registration, each of which is of value. I don't know if we can achieve this, but it seems to me something to aim for.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards

Edited: 26 February 2013 at 03:57 PM by roybowdler
 27 February 2013 09:22 AM
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roybowdler

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I largely agree, especially with the attempt to differentiate "leadership and management" between IEng & CEng, which I consider a false dichotomy and misguided. A CEng should have "Technical Leadership" capability by virtue of highly developed engineering knowledge and expertise. This is dealt with under A&B competence areas, underpinned by technical knowledge such as that developed by engineering degrees and/or extensive work-based learning.

UK-SPEC is a generic standard covering a myriad of different engineering roles and my explanation is based on my understanding of IET policy. Other professional institutions may interpret UK-SPEC slightly differently and be highly prescriptive within a narrower field. The leadership v management interpretation lends itself to an agenda of "higher status", but unfortunately if pursued to its logical conclusion many top engineers are "led" (or is it managed?) by accountants or other professions. Engineers with strong leadership potential often migrate into other management roles (not just pure engineering management) including those who reach IEng standard.

I understand that UK-SPEC is being reviewed this year by Engineering Council so I'm sure that they will welcome comment. To be fair to them they have to seek consensus from a wide range of viewpoints. I received last evening from Engineering Council a draft set of guidance notes encouraging institutions to promote IEng, these will be more widely available shortly.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 27 February 2013 01:17 PM
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hamishbell

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I have thought for a very long time, that the division between IEng and CEng is highly artificial. I tried several years ago to press the case for there being a spectrum of engineering activities rather than a hierarchy and to use this as a differentiator while not saying that one was "higher" than the other. The argument was difficult to put. I kept coming back to the fact that most engineers moved seamlessly from concept to solution, then implementation and delivery. All aspects had to be covered, perhaps with differing levels of ability. The main differentiator came at the point of "handwork", making an object where manual skill was the pre-eminent characteristic required.

Even at this point, the level of responsibilty isn't clear. A relatively "routine" operation may carry severe consequences if not implemented correctly so how do you factor that into the specification?

We should revert to the "one identifier" situation as Chartered Engineer and put behind us the relics of the decision which caused the split in the 1970's(?) which then resulted in the formation of what eventually became the IEEIE.

Now there's a thought!
Regards
Hamish

-------------------------
Hamish V Bell, BSc, CEng, FIET, FCQI, CQP
2013 - 2016 Elected Council Member
2007 - 2010, Vice President and Trustee
 07 March 2013 03:09 PM
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Parsley

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Congratulations to all new Incorporated Engineers

http://www.engc.org.uk/profess...ncorporated-engineers

Regards
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