HUNDREDS OF experienced engineers without civil engineering qualifications can now seek membership of the ICE through two new routes to membership launched last month.
The routes are designed to allow engineers to demonstrate their understanding of engineering principles through their experience rather than by forcing them back to college to study.
The ICE expects around 300 candidates to apply this year, meaning the potential for growth in membership is significant.
'Three hundred extra members in an institution where we generally attract around 1,000 new members a year is big news, ' said professional development manager Niall O'Hea.
'These new routes represent a potential 30% increase in the number of new members this year. And who knows what the impact on membership could be thereafter, ' said O'Hea.
The new routes will reduce the amount of time it takes for mature candidates to qualify and emphasise the level of qualification over subject studied (see box).
Both routes are accredited by the Engineering Council (UK) and so offer full chartered engineer status.
As a result they are expected to appeal both to experienced engineers who are not currently ICE members and to existing members wishing to upgrade from incorporated or technician level.
The Engineering Council (UK) had told the ICE that it would not accredit any new routes to membership during its current review of Standards & Routes to Registration (Sartor).
'The launching of the routes has been a culmination of hard work from not only the ICE but also the Engineering Council (UK), ' said O'Hea.
'They represent a common sense approach to becoming professionally qualified and may play a large part in the thinking behind Sartor 4.'
Full guidance to the new routes can be found on the ICE website or can be requested from the professional development department on: tel +44 (0) 20 7665 2334 or email profdev@ice. org. uk
What are they?
The Career Appraisal - Academic Review (CAAR) is a new route and has been granted a provisional licence by the Engineering Council (UK) until the end of this year, when it will be reviewed.
The Mature Candidate Route (MCR) is a revision of the old MCR to improve efficiency. Whereas before it took three or more years to complete, it is hoped candidates will now complete the route in under a year.
Who can apply?
For the revised Mature Candidate Route (MCR) no academic qualifications are required, but candidates must be over 35 years old and have more than 15 years' industry experience (12 for technician members).
The new CAAR requires candidates to have some form of science qualification, and candidates must have more than 12 years experience.
What is the process?
Knowledge will be demonstrated through a technical and experience report and the academic assessment will be made through interviews. The ICE will do its best to complete these on a regional basis.
Overseas candidates are welcome to apply but at present must do their interview within the UK.
For the CA-AR route, successful candidates at interview will then progress to the traditional professional review.
When do you apply?
Potential members can apply at any time for either route. Those unsure which route is best for them should make a provisional application to the professional development department which will then advise.