Bosses at five major UK companies have become the first to back a new campaign to promote routes for technicians and engineering apprentices to professionally register as Engineering Technicians (EngTech) and enhance their career prospects.
The EngTechNow campaign - first announced by the Prime Minister last summer - officially launches on 3 March during National Apprenticeship Week. It aims to increase the status of Engineering Technicians, who play a crucial hands-on role in engineering in the UK. Its target is to register 100,000 Engineering Technicians by 2020.
Senior figures at the construction project Crossrail, global defence company BAE Systems, civil engineering contractors Bam Nuttall, engineering and project management consultants Atkins and engineering, IT and facilities firm NG Bailey, have committed to increase the number of EngTechs in their own workforce.
Technicians working on major projects that improve the economic standing of the UK have joined forces with their bosses to show their support for professionally registered status. And a survey from the Industry Apprentice Council shows that 96.5% of engineering apprentices believe that apprenticeships should lead to professional registration as standard.
Over 300 UK engineering firms have graduate development schemes that encourage graduates to progress to professional status as Incorporated Engineers or Chartered Engineers. The EngTechNow campaign is urging more companies to recognise that those who have come through vocational and apprenticeship routes can also achieve professional status as Engineering Technicians.
Crossrail Technical Director Chris Sexton said: “We have graduate engineers who are involved in design work and in the supervision of works. But the everyday coal face engineering and construction is carried out by engineering technicians. Clients are always looking for properly qualified staff in contractors, engineering technicians are an important part of that picture. The EngTech qualification is a guarantee of quality, because it guarantees a level of competence and an achievement, recorded formally through a professional organisation.”
Simon Howison, Engineering Projects Director at BAE Systems, said: “Professional registration is a great opportunity for apprentice engineers and technicians. It is a clear indication of the high standards apprentices and technicians have achieved and will really boost the perception and status of careers in engineering. I'd encourage every company to get on board and join the campaign. Let's have at least 100,000 UK Engineering Technicians registered by 2020.”
Steve Fox, Chief Executive of BAM Nuttall Ltd, said: “In light of the skills shortage and with rising tuition fees, industry must face up to its responsibilities in developing the skills of the next generation. As a business we have invested heavily in our apprenticeship programmes for over 10 years and these are now aligned with our professional development programme. We encourage Bam Nuttall apprentices to achieve EngTech as it demonstrates they have met an independent standard of competence and we are pleased to support the campaign.”
Mark Jones, Director of Learning and Development, Atkins, said: "The UK is not generating enough new engineers. This means we either have to make it a more attractive career or deal with the consequences of solving challenges such as urbanisation, climate change and energy generation without enough qualified people. Apprenticeships offer an increasingly important career path for young engineers. A recognised professional status, such as EngTech, will help with early career development and should make apprenticeships more comparable with the traditional graduate route many young people take to progress in the world of design and engineering."
Jon Prichard CEng FICE FInstRE, CEO of the Engineering Council says: “The Engineering Council fully supports the EngTechNow campaign. We are delighted to see the professional engineering institutions working together in this way to address the emerging skills gap in the technically based employment sectors. Increasing the number of professionally registered technicians is a vital step in delivering future growth and prosperity for the UK.”
A new website provides a direct route for engineering apprentices, technicians and their employers to get involved www.engtechnow.com.