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Technically speaking

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The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is looking for the Technician of the Year – entries are open until the end of May.

It could be the winner is right here among RailStaff and Rail Engineer’s dynamic readership. All railway engineers should take a serious look at the IET which seeks to ‘Inspire, Inform, Influence’. Paul Darlington, career rail engineer and IET member, reports.

IET aims include inspiring the next generation of engineers by providing bursaries, scholarships, schemes such as the Faraday Challenge and informing schools of the challenges a career in engineering can provide. As the rail industry seeks to recruit more engineers the IET could have a powerful role to play.

Once into engineering the IET assesses and awards professional registration of engineers and technicians.

Registration as a professional engineer or technician is an important career milestone.

It demonstrates knowledge, understanding and engineering competence. In particular, registration shows employers and peers that the holder has demonstrated a commitment to professional standards, and to developing and enhancing their competence. For employers, having registered engineers and technicians demonstrates to customers and stakeholders that they have people assessed for their competence to a rigorous external standard.

The IET is one of many organisations licensed by the Engineering Council to award the professional engineering qualifications defined in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK- SPEC).


The IET supports a number of registration categories which include: Chartered Engineer (CEng), Incorporated Engineer (IEng), Engineering Technician (EngTech), Chartered IT Professional (CITP), ICT Technician (ICTTech).

Registration demonstrates recognition as a professional in an applicant’s field of expertise. This can improve motivation, career opportunities and salary prospects. Once added to the Engineering Council register applicants are able to use the professional registration designatory letters (CEng, IEng, EngTech or ICTTech).


The IET is supported by volunteer experts from all aspects of engineering who advise, assess, interview and award registration. In becoming a registered engineer one of the first steps is to seek the advice of a Professional Registration Advisor (PRA) who can be found via the IET website.

These are experienced engineers who have been trained by the IET to advise candidates on their application. Assessors then verify that the required underlying knowledge & understanding (UK&U) has been demonstrated prior to recommending that the candidate proceeds to interview.

Interviews are carried out by Professional Registration Interviewers (PRI). PRIs are trained by the IET and will have experience in the candidate’s field of work. PRIs do not award registration, but will make a recommendation to an independent panel who will consider all the evidence and interview findings before making a decision.


Currently there are no requirements for re-assessment once registration has been granted, and engineers and technicians will remain on the Engineering Council register while being a member of a licensed body.

Joining the register confirms commitment to both the Engineering Council’s Guidelines for Institutions’ Codes of Conduct and the IET Rules of Conduct, together with an obligation to remain professionally competent through continuous professional development (CPD).


Version three of UK-SPEC was produced in 2013, published in 2014 with compliance from 2016.

The IET has been operating V3 from November 2015 and it is now very familiar to all PRAs and PRIs. V3 now includes additional exemplars for the various competencies together with additional requirements for: security & intellectual property, risk & sustainability, diversity, safety, CPD and whistle blowing.

The IET is in the process of implementing a new Review Process System (RPS) which will ultimately be used by all candidates, volunteers, assessors, PRAs and PRIs. RPS is cloud-based and will make better use of the volunteer resource and talent management.


Career Manager is available for all members to build their competency profile, create a development action plan and log CPD. The system can be linked to a candidate’s application for registration allowing all evidence to be entered once and once only. Guest tickets can be issued electronically for mentors and PRA to view and comment on evidence.


From 2017, the Engineering Council requires all engineering institutions to carry out random monitoring of registered engineers and technicians CPD records. IET rules of conduct apply to all members and require CPD records to be made. Thus all IET members CPD records will be subject to monitoring.

CPD is not just about formal training. CPD can include work experience, events, self-study, academic study, and volunteering. The IET recommend Career Manager is used as it will provide a secure, structured platform for record keeping. Feedback on a trial of CPD monitoring found that candidates actually exceeded the 30 hours required of members, with an average of 79 hours in 2013 and 114 hours in 2014.

For example: consider attending an engineering exhibition, discuss innovations with experts and report back. Log the CPD record for both activities. Job done!

Rail engineers could profit from joining the IET and it goes without saying the Technician of the Year could well be among us.

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