UK-SPEC, is this not
SARTOR repackaged?


UK-SPEC. Is this not just the old SARTOR repackaged? There are a lot who do. But sitting comfortably in my chair is not going to help anyone, is it? So, I wrote to the Engineering Council and let them know that all they have done is driven further wedges between those who actually contribute to engineering, and those who think they do! Do we really need to drive even more bright, young graduate engineers to foreign lands where they will be recognized for what they are?

Dear Sirs,

My heart jumped with joy at the notification there was updated assessment criteria for registration as a professional engineer or technician in the UK.

"The UK-SPEC has partially been developed to allow greater flexibility in achieving professional status for engineers who do not hold accredited educational qualifications but have attained relevant employment experience, and I'm sure most time-served engineers would agree with that. Many people think that becoming a professionally qualified engineer or technician is difficult and time consuming, and Sir Colin Terry, Chairman of the Engineering Council UK, admitted at the launch that this perception is 'not entirely incorrect'. UK-SPEC sets out to make things more straightforward." (courtesy of EngineeringTalk).

Sir Colin, in my view, is a tad off the mark in that unless one has devoted one's entire life to engineering, foregoing all forms of family and social life, does one manage to attain such recognition. It also came as no surprise that "Route B" was in the spec (as it was in SARTOR). It was here I felt little had changed when it stated:

"Candidates without the qualifications listed above may be able to apply for a Route B Appraisal. This separate procedure, administered by the applicant's institution, involves an in-depth appraisal of the knowledge and experience acquired. Experienced, practising professional Engineering Technicians are often found to have gained the necessary knowledge and skills for their job through working closely with other skilled colleagues over a number of years."

What I find a little offensive is there is no direct recognition of the person who has managed to attain his/her achievements through self-learning. It is always assumed that I know what I know because I worked next to someone who "knew and passed on".

"...involves an in-depth appraisal"; And this is where I came unstuck every time. When I, in the past, have approached my institution about becoming a full member, I would (again) find out that I would be confronted with the prospect of having to give up an undetermined length of spare time (and it starts with many, many months) to fulfil their requirements to prove I know what I know.

I can only speak from my personal situation, but would be surprised if there were not many who also use their spare time to help others in the fraternity but could face a dilemma similar to mine - this being I run a technical help web site and would have to become unavailable to others while selfishly pursuing my acclaim. Is it not a requirement that those seeking such acclaim are to be mentors? Yet, how does one be a mentor while having to spend every waking moment pursuing the "requirements" as laid down by institutions.

What is exceedingly sad is there appears to be no change in the view that people who enjoy giving of themselves to others are shunned and have no chance of ever being recognized by their respective institutions - especially as they find it restricting to conform to the moulds created by them. Do the assessors not have computers with Internet access where they can view the work of such individuals, as does everyone else?

I merely wanted to point out that I believe you are still missing the dartboard, never mind coming close to bulls-eye. Surely engineering is a field that should promote the giving of information to others, and not one where self-exaltism becomes a goalpost.

I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy running my technical web site aimed at helping fellow engineers (I do not legally call myself such as I have no degree). I have also managed to start a very successful fault investigation and analysis consultancy (for those who realize it is commercially prudent to just simply employ the know-how) - which would never have happened without a sound knowledge base, experience, and tenacity that form part of the specifications requirements, do they not? All attempts in becoming a full member of my institution have been abandoned as the recognition gained through my online help (and now a growing client base) has surpassed that which any engineering institution could ever hope to accomplish...

... yet the reverse of this is the target I believe the Engineering Council needs to aim for. Until then, my assessment is such specifications are a "turn-off" rather than an invitation to join the UK industry.

My kindest regards,
Marc Dekenah.

© 09.12.03