Engineering revamp may deter students

Proposed route to chartered engineer status under attack

Proposals to change routes to qualification for engineers could turn students away from engineering, academics warned this week.

Candidates for one of the new options to chartered status could find themselves `in limbo’ with no career path, it was suggested.

Professor Jack Levy, the Engineering Council director for engineers’ regulation, appeared to acknowledge this concern at a meeting of the Parliamentary Group for Engineering Development last week.

He said the council was considering creating a special award for such candidates.

Under the Sartor 97 proposals for changes to professional entry standards, there would be three distinct degree courses for engineers. Students with at least 24 A-level points (with grade A counting as 10) would be eligible for a four year MEng degree – the most direct route to chartered status. Those with 18 points would be eligible for a three-year honours BEng which would lead to chartered status after further study.

An ordinary BEng would be open to students with 10 A-level points and would lead to incorporated status.

Dr David Bonner, head of civil engineering at Hertfordshire University and secretary of the Engineering Professors’ Council, said there were doubts about the BEng honours route – it was not clear what would happen to candidates who completed the degree but not the matching section.

He said: `The honours BEng is going nowhere on its own.’ The fear was that without a clear path to chartered status, potential honours candidates would be put off. `They could be lost to engineering. They can’t get on the MEng course and the ordinary BEng is seen as undesirable.’

By David Fowler