ENGINEERS WILL face a competence test every five years if a new voluntary licensing scheme being proposed this week by the Engineering Council is adopted across the profession.
The idea was suggested at a meeting last Thursday of the EngC's Board for Engineers' Regulation. This week BER is writing to all engineering institutions inviting comments on the proposals which will be debated at EngC's next Council meeting on 20 May.
Licensing is intended to improve the status of engineers. By opting for a voluntary scheme the BER is hoping to offer enhanced engineering services to customers who want them while avoiding complex legislation.
In a separate move the EngC is promoting an idea which will see all engineers adopting the prefix title 'Engineer'. If, for example, the style 'Engineer J Smith CEng' or 'Engineer J Smith IEng' were widely used the next step for the EngC would be to lobby for its protection.
Licensing is a major change from the present system in which engineers qualify for life when aged about 25 to 28 and are never required to submit for any recertification. EngC would offer accreditation schemes in prescribed areas of work and those approved would be able to describe themselves as a 'licensed engineering practitioner'.
Examinations would have to be organised by the appropriate engineering institution, such as ICE for civil engineers, and would include peer reviews. All costs would have to be met by fees charged to renew licences.