UK engineering is firing on all cylinders

October 17, 2013

Your correspondent Mark Lee makes a number of unfounded assertions about the engineering profession, the demand for engineers, the state of manufacturing and the Royal Academy of Engineering (Letters, 10 October). He does so claiming to be a chartered engineer, which he is not.The engineering profession is represented through professional institutions, 22 of which are licensed to register chartered, incorporated and technician engineers through a properly constructed process of assessment of competence, including qualifications and experience. This is rigorously managed. Lee is not registered with the Engineering Council as a chartered engineer and is not entitled to call himself one.

The UK is a world-class manufacturing nation. Eighty-five per cent of UK exports are manufactured products, valued at more than £36 billion in July 2013 alone. There is very high demand for qualified engineers across all sectors including manufacturing; if in doubt, Lee should ask any of our leading engineering companies, including Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, JCB and BAE Systems, all of which are successful exporters. Graduate engineers enjoy a high salary premium in relation to almost all other disciplines and there is clear evidence that engineers achieve high lifetime earnings. The wage premium for technicians qualified at level 3 is also significant.

These are concrete signs of the value that business and industry ascribe to engineers and technicians in the UK. The advice to secondary school students from industry and the profession is that the study of science, technology, engineering and maths opens up real opportunities for high-quality, well-remunerated and satisfying careers.

This Academy supports engineers and technicians at all levels. Such is the demand for skills that I would expect someone with Lee’s background to be readily employable, as are the vast majority of people with engineering qualifications at every level.

Finally, we have no record of any letter received from Lee, let alone one a year.

Philip Greenish
Chief executive
Royal Academy of Engineering

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