The relevance of engineering registration

This month, I will discuss the relevance of engineering registration within the apprenticeship schemes…

When we first started with the Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme, we were made aware of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) guidance document that stipulated the requirements for developing an apprenticeship standard. Apart from knowledge, skills and behaviours, there were other requirements that needed to be complied with, including professional registration. The comments about professional registration said: ‘Where professional registration exists for the occupation, the apprenticeship standard provides the individual with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to be eligible to apply for this.’ BINDT endorses, encourages and enables engineering registration under the guidance and oversight of the Engineering Council.

When we interpreted the guidance document, we determined that the apprenticeships should prepare the apprentice for engineering registration at the grade determined by the apprenticeship. The NDT Engineering Technician apprenticeship and the NDT Operator apprenticeship are aimed at Engineering Technician registration (albeit candidates attempting the NDT Operator apprenticeship will have to provide evidence of an additional eighteen months’ supervised experience), whereas the NDT Incorporated Engineer apprenticeship is aimed at Incorporated Engineer registration. In the case of the NDT Engineering Technician apprenticeship, all the apprentice will need to do at the end of the apprenticeship is complete the relevant application form and pay the appropriate fee. In the case of the NDT Operator apprenticeship, the apprentice will need to complete the relevant application form, pay the appropriate fee and gain additional experience. Finally, in the case of the NDT Incorporated Engineer apprenticeship, the apprentice will need to complete the relevant application form, pay the appropriate fee and also attend an interview.

Why is it that the government and BINDT promote the importance of engineering registration? The reason is that men and women who aspire to be recognised as professional engineers and technicians require independent assessment of their competence and commitment, and the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) provides the means to achieve this.

Registration sets individual professionals apart from engineers and technicians who are not registered. It establishes their proven knowledge, understanding and competence. In particular, registration demonstrates a commitment to professional standards and to developing and enhancing competence. Employers of registered engineering professionals have the assurance of knowing that their employees have had their competence independently assessed, their credentials verified and their commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) established. Many Engineering Council registrants work in countries outside of the UK. The standing of Engineering Technicians, Incorporated Engineers and Chartered Engineers is widely recognised around the world. In some cases, professional registration is required for particular work. Employers are increasingly using engineering registration as part of recruitment criteria and tendering documentation. Successful apprentices will be in demand because of their independent assessment of competence.

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