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Engineers – a protected species – part deux

by mel starrs on February 28, 2008

in The Profession

Remember about a year ago there was an epetition floating around regarding the use of the word engineer?

Because I signed up to the petition (along with 1,726 others), I received the response in my email. I’ve copied it out in full in case anyone’s too lazy to click through. Basically, they aren’t going to stop housewives calling themselves ‘domestic engineers’ but they’re not legally allowed to call themselves ‘domestic chartered engineer’. Hmph.

Lots of stuff on funding I didn’t know about, but it’ll be 2015 before today’s 14 year old’s graduate…

The Government looks to the Engineering Council UK to regulate the professional status of engineers, through its Royal Charter. It is true that there is nothing to stop anyone from describing themselves as an “engineer” but only those individuals who have a current registration on the ECUK Register of Qualified Engineers and Technicians may use the professional titles of Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Engineering Technician. It would not be practical or appropriate for the Government to attempt to introduce new legislation on this matter.

However, the Government is committed to increasing the number of young people studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects right throughout the educational system from the early stages and beyond. If the UK is to be able to compete in the global economy of the 21st century, we must ensure that everyone’s skills and talents are developed throughout their lives so that we have a world-beating workforce.

The Department for Innovation Universities and Skills (DIUS) has made a major investment (£12.7 million for 2005-08) in STEMNET – the Science, Technology Engineering and Maths Network – with its UK-wide network of 53 SETPoints. This is designed to promote STEM awareness, especially among young people, to help ensure that the UK maintains a flow of well-motivated, high-quality individuals into STEM jobs.

Under STEMNET, £6.7 million has been provided to set up the Science and Engineering Ambassadors Programme. Over 17,500 Science and Engineering Ambassadors are supporting school activities, offering mentoring, career guidance and are positive role models. There is a commitment to increase the number of SEAs to 18,000 by 2008. This target is likely to be met by this financial year.

DIUS works closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) on the STEM skills agenda; wanting to ensure that the needs of employers are met, that the Science Curriculum is sufficiently challenging for the top 25% and increases scientific literacy of the population at large, and that there are good enrichment and enhancement activities as part of science education.
DCSF have funded a number of measures to take this forward, for example:

  • a pilot of 250 after school science and engineering clubs to offer an engaging and stretching programme of activities to Key Stage 3 pupils.
  • 9 regional Science Learning Centres providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to science teachers and technicians.

The most recent UCAS figures for 2007 university entry show increases in physics (up 10.3%), chemistry (up 8.3%), maths (up 9.2%) and engineering (up 4.3% overall). We are not complacent. There is more to be done. But we are on the right track.