As part of the 2016 Get Registered campaign, Ian Bowbrick CEng CEnv FIMMM, Director of Professional Development and Membership at IOM3, answers some of the frequent questions he encounters regarding professional registration.
The term ‘registration’ is one that we frequently mention in IOM3, but not all of our readers may be familiar with it - could you explain it further?
Professional Registration is all about recognition of a practitioner’s competence, measured against an approved standard. In engineering, competence is measured against the Engineering Council’s UK-SPEC. This has three levels of registration each with their own specific competencies: - Chartered Engineer (CEng), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Engineering Technician (EngTech). Eligibility to the different grades of registration is determined by an individual’s academic qualifications - for CEng it is a Masters’ degree, for IEng a Bachelors, and for EngTech a Level 3 qualification. However, there are routes an applicant can take if they do not hold the appropriate academic qualifications, which enables them to demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and understanding than their formal qualifications indicate.
IOM3 is licenced by the Engineering Council to award these levels of registration. The method employed is a peer review process whereby trained IOM3 members assess applications. The process is moderated by our Membership Committee, which is empowered to make the award.
I should add that IOM3 couples its own qualifications, Professional Member (MIMMM), Associate Member (AIMMM) and Technician Member (TIMMM) with CEng, IEng and EngTech respectively, although our grades can be awarded as standalones. We also hold similar licences with the Science Council and the Society for the Environment, where the process and coupling of our grades is comparable.
What evidence would a member need to submit when applying for registration?
The evidence required is fairly straightforward and structured to enable an applicant to demonstrate their level of competence and professional responsibility. Where an applicant has the necessary academic qualifications, they need to submit a Professional Review Report, which is essentially an expanded CV mapping the various competencies against their experience and achievements in the jobs they have done. In the case of CEng and IEng, a case study is also required, which demonstrates the applicant employing the various competencies in practice. In addition, there is a basic application form to complete, which must be supported by two referee reports and a copy of the applicant’s CPD record for the last three to four years.
The mapping sounds complicated, what guidance do we give potential applicants?
We have a comprehensive set of guidelines for each grade of registration, which can be downloaded from our website. In addition, the Membership Team are always available to support and advise applicants on making an application or any aspect of the application process. We also have free Registration Clinics over the coming months, at IOM3 London HQ on 28 April, 26 May and 1 July. Everyone is welcome, but should book in advance through me, firstname.lastname@example.org to guarantee a one-to-one slot.
What are the drivers behind this initiative?
Becoming registered is all about increased employment opportunities and reducing risk. There is clear evidence that practitioners who are registered enhance their employability – the proof is to be found in the various salary surveys which are regularly produced. In addition, employers are increasingly attaching registration to higher level job roles and practitioners who do not hold appropriate credentials can hit a glass ceiling. One service IOM3 does provide its members, which is rarely discussed, is to confirm with potential employers and head hunters the professional qualifications our members hold. We do, of course, seek the particular member’s permission before making any such disclosure, but in most cases it comes as a surprise that such a due diligence check is being carried out. In terms of risk, we are increasingly receiving requests from investors and business angels for similar due diligence checks – they clearly want evidence that their money will be invested in someone who not only has a good idea and business plan but also has the competence to deliver it.