Press release

Engineering leaders and apprentices back professional status for technicians

03 March 2014

Bosses at five major UK companies have become the first to back a new campaign to promote routes for technicians and engineering apprentices to professionally register as Engineering Technicians (EngTech) and enhance their career prospects.

The EngTechNow campaign, backed by the IET and first announced by the Prime Minister last summer, officially launches on 3 March during National Apprenticeship Week.  It aims to increase the status of Engineering Technicians, who play a crucial hands-on role in engineering in the UK.  Its target is to register 100,000 Engineering Technicians by 2020.

Senior figures at the construction project Crossrail, global defence company BAE Systems, civil engineering contractors Bam Nuttall, engineering and project management consultants Atkins and engineering, IT and facilities firm NG Bailey, have committed to increase the number of EngTechs in their own workforce.

Technicians working on major projects that improve the economic standing of the UK have joined forces with their bosses to show their support for professionally registered status.  And a survey from the Industry Apprentice Council shows that 96.5% of engineering apprentices believe that apprenticeships should lead to professional registration as standard.

Over 300 UK engineering firms have graduate development schemes that encourage graduates to progress to professional status as Incorporated Engineers or Chartered Engineers. The EngTechNow campaign is urging more companies to recognise that those who have come through vocational and apprenticeship routes can also achieve professional status as Engineering Technicians.

Crossrail Technical Director Chris Sexton said: “We have graduate engineers who are involved in design work and in the supervision of works. But the everyday coal face engineering and construction is carried out by engineering technicians. Clients are always looking for properly qualified staff in contractors, engineering technicians are an important part of that picture. The EngTech qualification is a guarantee of quality, because it guarantees a level of competence and an achievement, recorded formally through a professional organisation.”

Simon Howison, Engineering Projects Director at BAE Systems, said: “Professional registration is a great opportunity for apprentice engineers and technicians. It is a clear indication of the high standards apprentices and technicians have achieved and will really boost the perception and status of careers in engineering. I'd encourage every company to get on board and join the campaign.  Let's have at least 100,000 UK Engineering Technicians registered by 2020.”

Steve Fox, Chief Executive of BAM Nuttall Ltd, said: “In light of the skills shortage and with rising tuition fees, industry must face up to its responsibilities in developing the skills of the next generation. As a business we have invested heavily in our apprenticeship programmes for over 10 years and these are now aligned with our professional development programme. We encourage Bam Nuttall apprentices to achieve EngTech as it demonstrates they have met an independent standard of competence and we are pleased to support the campaign.”

Mark Jones, Director of Learning and Development, Atkins, said: "The UK is not generating enough new engineers. This means we either have to make it a more attractive career or deal with the consequences of solving challenges such as urbanisation, climate change and energy generation without enough qualified people. Apprenticeships offer an increasingly important career path for young engineers. A recognised professional status, such as EngTech, will help with early career development and should make apprenticeships more comparable with the traditional graduate route many young people take to progress in the world of design and engineering."

Jon Prichard CEng FICE FInstRE, CEO of the Engineering Council says: “The Engineering Council fully supports the EngTechNow campaign.  We are delighted to see the professional engineering institutions working together in this way to address the emerging skills gap in the technically based employment sectors. Increasing the number of professionally registered technicians is a vital step in delivering future growth and prosperity for the UK.”

A new website provides a direct route for engineering apprentices, technicians and their employers to get involved www.engtechnow.com

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Professional registration is recognition, through membership of a professional engineering institution, that an individual’s competence has been assessed, and they have attained the standard required for admission to the national register at the appropriate level.  The necessary competence for EngTech registration is outlined in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC)  www.engc.org.uk/ukspec.  EngTech helps individuals stand out from their peers and become more employable.  EngTech can often lead to higher salaries and faster promotion.
  • According to projections by the Engineering Council, between 2010 and 2020 there will be 1.86 million job openings in the United Kingdom for workers with engineering skills. Against this backdrop, a review published by the Technician Council in 2012 (UKCES Working Futures 2010-2020) revealed an alarming skills gap between the current number of technicians in the UK and the 450,000 higher skilled technician roles needed by 2020 to boost economic growth and ensure the UK maintains a competitive edge internationally.
  • The three largest professional engineering institutions (IET, IMechE and ICE) are working on a joint programme to register world-class skilled professional technicians as ‘Engineering Technicians’ (EngTech). They are being supported by the Engineering Council and another 30 professional engineering institutions licensed to award EngTech registration.
  • EngTechNow promotes routes for engineering apprentices and for experienced individuals working as technicians to become professionally registered.  
  • Companies who are keen to drive professionalism in their engineering technician workforce can learn more at www.engtechnow.com
  • The Engineering Council 2013 Survey of Registered Engineers and Technicians found that the median annual total earnings for a registered EngTech was £40,000.  This had risen 8.1% since the same survey in 2010.
  • The Engineering Council 2013 Survey of Registered Engineers and Technicians found that 89% of professionally registered Engineering Technicians would recommend professional registration to others, in line with 90% of Incorporated Engineers and 93% of Chartered Engineers.  However, 50% of Engineering Technicians felt that their employer values the fact that they are professionally registered, compared with 54% of Incorporated Engineers and 62% of Chartered Engineers.
  • The Industry Apprentice Survey 2013 found that 96.5% of engineering and related apprentices said apprenticeships should lead to professional registration as standard on completion. The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) was formed by EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, and is sponsored by IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry.