Would giving the title of engineer protected status in the UK improve the public status of the profession?
Not that much different from fixing a washing machine?
Last week’s poll on engineering education, and our subsequent comment article on how engineering should be taught, lead to some interesting questions about engineering status. One subject that crops up regularly in our comment sections is who should be allowed to call themselves an engineer. The complaint that “people think the man with a spanner who fixes the washing machine is an engineer” is repeated so often that it’s become a cliche. Notwithstanding the fact that that person could accurately be called a maintenance engineer, with a job not much different from the person who fixes jet engines is beside the point. Are we merely dealing with snobbery here, or is there a valid point? In other countries, as readers often point out, ‘engineering’ is a protected title, like doctor or barrister in the UK. Should engineers join that list? Would this improve perceived low status of engineering in Britain?
Our poll this week asks this question. Should only chartered engineers be able to call themselves engineers professionally? Should the various professional associations adjudicate on who should be allowed to use the title? Is engineering simply too broad for the blanket term engineer to be of use?
Comments on the subject are welcome, and are particularly helpful if you choose the “none of the above” option. We will show the results of this poll on this page on 6 September.
Please click the link below to vote in the poll.