The process whereby engineers are qualified is facing change on an unprecedented scale. Publication of the Dearing report on higher education has paved the way for the finalisation of the Engineering Council’s controversial Sartor proposals, while A-levels may be supplemented by a broader, baccalaureate examination. Next month, the revised system of National Vocational Qualifications comes into force following a three-year review.
Reforms to the NVQ system are particularly welcome and should fuel a big step forward in their take up. The engineering sector has enthusiastically supported the qualifications from their inception, and more than 140,000 people in the industry have them. At the same time, potential candidates for the qualification have been put off by excessive bureaucracy and complexity in the qualifications framework, while it has proved difficult for the system to keep up with technological advances.
Employers and employees alike will benefit from the new system which promises fewer qualifications with more units in common, and is designed to adapt to technological advances. It will lead to greater flexibility, making it easier for workers to move between jobs and indeed different sectors of industry to have their experience recognised.