The Engineering Council was incorporated by Royal Charter in November 1981 to regulate the engineering profession in the UK. This week marks our 40th year of setting and maintaining standards, to ensure that society continues to have confidence and trust in the engineering profession.

Our mission as a regulator is to maintain internationally recognised standards of competence and commitment for the engineering profession and to license competent institutions to champion those standards to deliver public benefit.

There are currently over quarter of a million professionally registered engineers and technicians on the Engineering Council’s Register, all of whom have committed to maintaining and developing their knowledge throughout their careers. The most recent Ipsos MORI Veracity Index shows that engineers are the third most trusted profession in Britain, only ranking lower than doctors and nurses.

Engineering Council CEO Alasdair Coates said “The Engineering Council’s vision is to maintain society’s confidence and trust in the engineering profession. Voluntary regulation is important because standards matter – the public has a right to expect engineers, who do so much to shape our world, to be able to demonstrate their competence and behave in an ethical, sustainable way.”

Professional registration is internationally recognised and open to all practising engineers and technicians who can meet the requirements, which are based on competence and commitment, rather than academic qualifications. What matters is the standard those seeking professional registration have reached, not the route they took to get there.

Because engineering is not regulated by statute in the UK (with the exception of some safety-critical areas, such as aircraft maintenance, gas fitting and railway signalling), there is no legal restriction on who can call themselves an engineer. But the four professional titles awarded by the Engineering Council:

are legally protected and can only be used by individuals who have been assessed against our internationally-recognised standard. Everyone on that register has also committed to abide by a Code of Conduct and to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which is monitored.

This maintenance of standards for public benefit is at the core of the Engineering Council’s purpose. In this 40th anniversary year, we:

  • are implementing the latest version of our Standards, revised through a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders. This is a five-yearly process, which ensures that the Standards (including the requirements for professional registration) remain fit-for-purpose as engineering and the wider world changes.
  • have delivered online tool RegCheck, to support employers and members of the public. This is a simple online check to verify whether an individual engineer or technician has a currently active Engineering Council registration.
  • have launched our ‘Advancing Regulation’ Strategy, developed in consultation with the profession, with our goals and priorities to 2025.

In that 2025 Strategy, we set out our aspiration to see professional registration moving from being seen as a ‘benefit to the registrant’ to being an ‘expectation of the individual’. As the importance of competence becomes increasingly clear in all areas of life, standards matter.

We look forward to continuing to deliver public benefit by setting and maintaining standards, to ensure an engineering profession with sustainability and ethical principles at its core.

Author: Kate Webster, Engineering Council

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of the Institute of Demolition Engineers.