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News Archive 2014

Professional Standards refreshed to meet evolving challenges for engineering

Published: 27/02/2014

Following extensive profession-wide reviews during 2013 the Engineering Council has recently re-issued its two key Standards documents.  The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) and the Information and Communications Technology Technician Standard (ICTTech Standard) are both now available to download from the Engineering Council’s website:

For both documents the 2013 exercise was part of a periodic review that is carried out every five years, by specific steering groups comprising expert members from across the profession.  Both groups sought the opinions of key stakeholders through online consultations, workshops and a number of face to face meetings.  This community-led review method ensures that the documents remain current and relevant to an ever changing profession. 

UK-SPEC was initially launched in 2003 and first revised during 2008.  Since its introduction the Standard has enjoyed support across the professional engineering community, including employers and academia.  Professor Isobel Pollock CEng FIMechE, Chair of the UK-SPEC Review Steering Group says:  “The third edition builds on the strengths of the original and adheres to its fundamental principles and aims.  It presents Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng), as part of a progressive registration structure.  It also stresses the value placed on every engineer and technician, no matter what their title, who each have an important and unique role to play in every engineering project or organisation.” 

Changes to the standards have been minimal as the initial consultation highlighted that UK-SPEC was generally working well.  The only real issue that emerged, and the reviewers looked to address, was the lack of clarity between IEng and CEng competences.  Two key changes are to enhance the emphasis on the ‘commitment’ element of the registration requirement and the inclusion of a new standard of competence for all titles, requiring registrants to exercise responsibilities in an ethical manner. 

Further revisions have been made to include topics that have come to the fore since the previous review such as security, risk management, health and safety, and equality and diversity.   More explicit cross references have been made to the CPD Code for Registrants, the CPD Policy Statement and Engineering Council guidance material, and a glossary has been provided.  These received very positive feedback from respondents to the second consultation.  Again based on feedback, a new addition is the inclusion of a table comparing the requirements for registration in all three professional titles, provided as an Annex.

The ICTTech Standard was first launched in early 2009, making this its first review.  Chair of the ICTTech Standard Review Steering Group, Paul Excell CEng FBCS FIET, says: “The revisions are designed to make the Standard more accessible, relevant and attractive to the wide range of professional technician roles in the ICT sector.  Given the exciting range of roles, work environments and technologies that ICT Technicians can be involved in, and the dynamic nature of the industry, the Standard includes significant updates on relevant competences and professional development.  It has also been closely aligned to UK-SPEC, with the same additions as described above.” 

Jon Prichard, CEng FICE FInstRE, CEO of the Engineering Council says: “We are very grateful to the many individuals and organisations who assisted us with the reviews of our Standards last year.  The number of responses that we received is an encouraging indication that the profession takes standards seriously.  Feedback was not only helpful for informing the revisions, but has also provided further guidance as to matters that we should consider in the future.” 

With regard to how UK-SPEC and the ICTTech Standard are used by professional engineering institutions, individuals and organisations, Jon Prichard says: “As a generic standard for the diverse profession we work in, UK-SPEC and the ICTTech Standard are designed to provide a threshold standard, which individuals may exceed, if not at the time of registration, then as their career develops.  In addition, each institution is able to add its own interpretation, based on its distinct set of requirements.” 

To avoid confusion with previous versions both new documents are now presented in Engineering Council corporate blue, with their version number stated on the front cover. 

Jon Prichard concludes: “UK-SPEC has served us well over the past ten years and we hope that both Standards will continue to serve society and the profession equally well for many years to come.” 

The Standards documents can be downloaded from:

UK-SPEC: /ukspec.aspx

ICTTech Standard: /professional-registration/standards/icttech-standard