Voluntary licence plan ‘recipe for confusion’

Plans to create a voluntary register of licensed engineers have been branded ‘a recipe for confusion’ by the boss of one of the UK’s top engineering institutions. Trevor Evans, chief executive of the 23,000-strong Institution of Chemical Engineers, said his organisation has rejected proposals from the Engineering Council to create a new brand of professional […]

Plans to create a voluntary register of licensed engineers have been branded ‘a recipe for confusion’ by the boss of one of the UK’s top engineering institutions.

Trevor Evans, chief executive of the 23,000-strong Institution of Chemical Engineers, said his organisation has rejected proposals from the Engineering Council to create a new brand of professional engineer the Licensed Engineering Practitioner.

‘The scheme would add yet another title at a time when all our efforts should go into promoting the CEng and IEng titles,’ he said.

The proposals involve launching a voluntary register of engineers working in selected disciplines with a safety-critical element.

They are part of a package of measures which also involve the creation of the ‘Eng’ title for chartered and incorporated engineers an initiative dismissed by Evans as ‘a dead duck’.

The licensing plans would involve regular third-party assessment of the competence to practise of an engineer, who would then be able to use the title Licensed Engineering Practitioner.

But the voluntary nature of the register has drawn additional criticism. ‘There is no sanction on the engineer for loss of this licence,’ said Evans. ‘It seems to be a scheme that is not going to go very far.’

The Engineering Council admits that the success of a voluntary scheme would depend on employers seeking out LEPs.

‘By going to a licensed practitioner, an employer knows that his skill has been assessed within the past five years,’ said Robin Wilson, chairman of the council’s board for engineers’ regulation, which has drawn up the proposals.

Of the 38 professional institutions, ten are understood to have reacted favourably to the plans.

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