The Institution of Electrical Engineers is planning to use the Internet to transform itself into a skills referral agency for engineering employers seeking better qualified staff.
Following a succesful pilot, it is now developing a self-assessment programme for its 40,000 members to adopt best practice work standards by surfing the Internet.
Professor Philip Secker, the institution’s chief executive, wants the continuing professional development initiative to become the major service provided by his organisation.
The plan, revealed at an IEE conference last week, aims to give employers a way of ensuring that engineering staff are keeping up with the latest skills, particularly in safety-critical technology systems.
Secker believes the CPD Internet programme could help resolve debate over the quality of new engineering degrees and the engineering skills shortage.
The IEE is developing a CPD framework database with the Institute of Directors. It is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Engineers will then be able to examine skills and qualifications of colleagues doing similar or new work who elect to be listed on the database.
Secker said CPD advisory panels of chief executives would also help identify where engineering skills needed to be improved.
The CPD database would offer employers and institutions a way to check CVs to ensure engineers were up to best practice standards, and create more competition among engineers.
The CPD programme is being developed with the Engineering Council’s support to ensure long-term competence for engineers, especially with the massive expansion of information technology.