THE ENGINEERING & Technology Board (ETB) this week hit back at critics of its proposed 'chartered technologist' (CTech) qualification, saying it has the full support of industry.
The proposal to give employers the power to award the CTech professional qualifications to their own staff was unveiled by the ETB last month.
The ETB sees the qualification as a way of tapping into a vast resource of 1.4M engineers and technologists not served by the current qualification structure.
The plans came under fire last week from the UK Association of Professional Engineers (UKAPE), which said they would fatally compromise the existing qualifications structure (News last week). It voted against the proposal in an emergency motion at its biennial delegate conference.
This week ETB chief executive Alan Clark challenged UKAPE to discuss its concerns.
'If UKAPE are going to vote on something they should at least try to understand it first.
Let's talk, and if they still want to disagree then, they can disagree.
'Our agenda has been generally well received, albeit with some areas of controversy. But we are not going to shy away from controversy, ' he said.
'We are going to seek opinions from everyone, including engineers, the institutions, the unions, academia, government and the wider engineering community, but we are also impatient.'
Clark insisted that CTech will not conflict with chartered engineer CEng, nor will it be above incorporated engineer (IEng) or engineering technician (EngTech).
'We are talking about a community of equals with differences.'
The proposal already has the backing of consultant Babtie. 'In flood defence we use a lot of software modellers, ' said principal engineer and ETB board member Andrew Burton. 'The Institution of Civil Engineers has always been reluctant to recognise their skills, yet their work is very much in engineering and technology.
'CTech would be a way of allowing these people's skills to be recognised, attracting them in and allowing them to move about the industry, ' said Burton.