The Forum is made up of signatories of the Washington Accord, signed in 1988 to set common academic standards for engineering, starting with mutual recognition of academic qualifications.
The 1988 accord takes in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and Ireland, and allows for mutual recognition of academic first degree qualifications.
'Accreditation systems within the Washington Accord are not identical, ' said Whitwell. 'We do not accredit in the UK in precisely the same way as Canada, and the USA does not process applications in exactly the same way as Hong Kong. But accredited courses create graduate engineers of equivalent standards. Graduates from the universities of one country will be recognised and can perform competently within another country's jurisdiction.'
The Washington Accord has also been used to accredit individual institutions in Singapore, Bangladesh, the West Indies, Ghana, India, China and the Russian Federation.