I suspect that many engineers will agree with the points made by Mark Whitby (NCE 18 February). Probably most of us have come across first class engineers who never took a degree but learnt their theory through ONC and HNC. I have for a long time wondered if ICE is right to insist so single-mindedly on academic qualifications, which are quite evidently neither necessary nor sufficient requirements for good engineering. The issue of status will not be resolved by this rather narrow simplistic approach. It is much more likely that engineers would gain better recognition if they were required to have a wider education which included some of the cultural values of the arts.
It may be too soon to know whether young engineers are discouraged from becoming Members of ICE by these requirements, or whether membership is seen now as less of a priority than it was. My impression from the young engineers I know is that this is indeed a trend.
Sam Price (F), Price & Myers Consulting Engineers, 33 - 34 Alfred Place, London WC1E 7DP