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Engineers – a protected species?

by mel starrs on February 22, 2007

in The Profession

Move over pollsters, it’s the turn of the engineers.  This is doing the rounds:

Astronautics engineer Jon Jennings has this week leapt on the online petition bandwagon to call for the title of “engineer” to be a protected title. Jennings has joined an escalating list of people using

10 Downing Street’s online petition trial to drum up support for his campaign to restore respect in engineers. “Car mechanics, plumbers and electricians are now commonly referred to as engineers and banks now regard engineers as semi skilled”, says his petition.

  With 3,700 signatories to date, the petition already tops the “business and industry” category. But it still lags well behind the road pricing petition which received 1.7 million signatories before it closed on Tuesday. So if you agree that the status of the engineer is undervalued in society sign the petition:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Engineer-Status/

Quite right too.  Looking on the website Jon goes on to say:

I believe for the long turn prosperity of the UK and to attract students back to science subjects the Government must act decisively and introduce laws to protect Engineers such that only “Chartered Engineers” ImechE, RAeS can use the title Engineer. This will give Engineers the same professional status in our society as doctors, lawyers similar to Europe

Obviously, as I’m already chartered, I am biased towards this proposal.  In the states, engineers have to be licenced to practice.  Those who argue that this would harm the industry in the UK go along the lines that there are so few engineers as it stands that by adding this barrier to entry, there will be even fewer.  I agree with Jon and believe that increasing the status of engineering will make it more attractive, meaning more engineers in the long term.

No rush on filling this in – the petition closes 23 January 2008.  I looked to see what kind of response other petitions were getting.  Just above this one on 3,881 signatories as I write this is “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream” instigated by Tim at Bloggerheads.  Good luck with that one – I hope this is not the future of epetitions…