THE ENGINEERING Council has been told to "go back to square one" with its review of engineering training and qualifications by the director general of the Engineering Employers Federation.
Called SARTOR, the review aims to raise standards by toughening entry requirements for engineering degrees. The council also wants to see "fewer and better" chartered engineers and "more and better" incorporated engineers.
But in a letter to Jack Levy, the council's director of engineering regulations, EEF boss Graham Mackenzie, whose organisation represents 5,200 firms employing 700,000 people, queries SARTOR's assumptions about the future demand for chartered engineers.
"We have seen no empirical evidence that demand for professional engineers will diminish," he said, adding that the EEF agreed there would be more demand for incorporated (IEng) technicians.
Mr Mackenzie said there had been "no real attempt" by the council to benchmark the professional engineering qualification against those in other sectors, or to link SARTOR to national vocational qualifications. He also criticised the council's heavy reliance on A-level points for determining entry to degree courses.
"Engineering employers believe that it is important that the NVQ system be extended to the upper ranges of the profession." He added that the proposals "do nothing to allay the perception that the IEng status is one of 'failed' chartered engineer".
A better divide between the MEng, which can lead to chartered status, and BEng, which leads to incorporated engineer status, might be achieved by an exam at the end of the first or second year of the degree, he said.