Engineers will be encouraged to take a rigorous ‘MoT test’ to prove their professional competence every five years, under new proposals from the Engineering Council.
The so-called ‘voluntary licensing’ scheme is being designed to build up a public database of engineers with skills accredited by a third party.
Engineers will not be forced to take part. But the organisers believe that if a critical mass of people opt to be assessed, those outside will find themselves at a disadvantage.
The content of tests will be determined by professional institutions, whose backing will be essential to the scheme. They are expected to assess the idea within the next few months.
Larger institutions are expected to welcome the scheme. The Institution of Electrical Engineers has already announced that it will aim to put engineers certified in a voluntary licensing scheme on an Internet-based listing.
But smaller institutions with limited funds may be hit hard by the added expense.
Engineers in safety-critical areas such as aircraft maintenance or railway signalling already operate with such lists.