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Firms urged to back effort to boost technicians’ job status

Bosses at five major UK engineering companies have become the first to back a new ICE, Institution of Engineering and Technology and Institution of Mechanical Engineers campaign to promote routes for technicians and engineering apprentices to professionally register as engineering technicians (EngTech) - and to enhance their career prospects.

Steve Fox

Steve Fox: Investing in apprentices

The EngTechNow campaign - announced by prime minister David Cameron last summer - officially launched last week during National Apprenticeship Week. It aims to improve the status of engineering technicians and to register 100,000 engineering technicians by 2020.

Senior figures at Crossrail, global defence company BAE Systems, contractor Bam Nuttall, consultant Atkins, and engineering, IT and facilities firm NG Bailey, all committed to increasing the number of EngTechs in their workforces for the campaign launch.

EngTechNow organisers are urging more companies to recognise that individuals who have developed through vocational and apprenticeship routes can achieve professional status as engineering technicians.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock wrote to civil engineering chief executives last week urging support for the campaign.

“In order for this programme to succeed and achieve its ambitious target we need, and seek, the support of the UK’s leading employers,” he said in the letter.

“We would be grateful were you able to support this initiative, the first time the three major professional engineering institutions have joined forces in such a meaningful way, by placing this qualification at the heart of your own programmes.”

Commenting on the campaign, Baveystock added: “Engineering technicians form a vital part of the skills mix, offering specialist skills and techniques and solving complex problems - ultimately they help to deliver infrastructure projects efficiently and on time.

“It is important that we boost the status of those who have come through the apprentice route and show youngsters and employers the different paths that can lead to a lifelong career in civil engineering - one that can literally shape the world in which we live.”

Bam Nuttall chief executive Steve Fox commented: “In light of the skills shortage and with rising tuition fees, industry must face up to its responsibilities in developing the skills of the next generation.

“As a business, we have invested heavily in our apprenticeship programmes for over 10 years, and these are now aligned with our professional development programme. We encourage Bam Nuttall apprentices to achieve EngTech as it demonstrates they have met an independent standard of competence, and we are pleased to support the campaign,” he added.

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