MORE TECHNICIANS are to be offered the chance of a professional qualification, with the ICE approving a new route to Technician Member (TMICE) using vocational qualifications.
The ICE has this week accepted that Level 3 national vocational qualifications (NVQs) can be used as a substitute for an academic qualification, after a successful pilot held during the spring 2002 professional reviews.
The move has been approved by the Engineering Council (UK), entitling successful candidates to take the EngTech title.
The Institution has been looking for ways to encourage more technicians to apply for membership for some time. At present there are just 540 Technician Members on the books, and this figure is declining by over 5% a year.
The biggest stumbling block has always been over academic standards. ICE standards cover technical, managerial and professional achievement, and the first part of the requirement at each level (Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Engineering Technician) is achievement of a recognised academic standard.
However, there is now an alternative. NVQs (SVQs in Scotland) are based on competent workplace performance judged against national occupational standards. The necessary underpinning knowledge is assessed, but no separate academic achievement is needed.
The ICE trialled the approach earlier this year, with three pilot Engineering Technician Professional Reviews, carried out on volunteers Rachel Webber from Traffic & Parking Consultants, and Chris Cawrse and Alexander Drover of Cornwall County Council. They are the first to be assessed against the criteria for Engineering Technician using their NVQs as a substitute for normal academic requirements.
All three candidates impressed the reviewers and were awarded a Technician Membership at a certificate presentation ceremony last month.
INFOPLUS For more information on this route to a professional qualification contact ICE professional development manager Niall O'Hea (020) 7665 2071 or email niall. o'hea@ice. org. uk