Engineers rethink pre-entry structure

January 20, 1995

The Engineering Council's wide-ranging proposals to revamp the educational preparation for engineers focus on new standards of professional competence and commitment.

A feature of the proposals is the development and assessment of competence in three areas. These are foundation learning, specialist learning and competence in employment within the context of clearly defined occupational standards. The proposals also call for more emphasis on professional updating supported by evidence.

The proposals have been compiled on the basis of responses to a consultation document called Review of Engineering Formation issued last year.

An important part of the new strategy is the boosting of the educational preparation that will be required for the three categories of registration. The educational requirement for chartered engineer (CEng) status is an honours degree but in the future the council wants to see specialist development to master's level or its equivalent as well. The incorporated engineer currently requires a minimum of an HNC. The council wants to see this ramped up to HND or GNVQ Level 4 plus specialist development to degree level or equivalent. For registration as engineering technician, the requirement has been a BTEC national certificate but will in future be a GNVQ advanced- level foundation plus HNC or its equivalent.

The revised requirements for registration to replace the council's existing standards and routes to registration will be developed during 1995. The council is also proposing that United Kingdom candidates for the prestigious European engineer (Eur Ing) title will have to be fluent in a European language other than English up to NVQ Level 3.

A more coherent system of post-14 education in which the "best features of the GCSE and A level, GNVQ and alternatives to both are considered in a broad and integrated framework" is called for. The council also says that there should be a single national "credit framework" for all engineering- related education.

Competence and Commitment is available free from the Engineering Council, 10, Maltravers Street, London WC2 3ER. Please send SAE.

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