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#1 jatwarks

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:35

Please consider signing this e-petition to have 'Engineer' officially recognised as a profession in the UK, and so raise the status of engineering in a world dominated by professions.

http://epetitions.di.../petitions/6271

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#2 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 17:10

Please consider signing this e-petition to have 'Engineer' officially recognised as a profession in the UK, and so raise the status of engineering in a world dominated by professions.

http://epetitions.di.../petitions/6271


I am a Professional Engineer, living and registered in British Columbia, Canada. In North America engineers are licensed by state or Provincial Governments under legislation enacted years ago for that purpose. The legislation is intended to protect the public from unqualified, or incomeptent practicioners. In Canada the term "Engineer" and some variations of that are registered under legislation similar to trademark legislation. Unfortunately train drivers were called engineers many years ago and that term is still used

It is illegal to have the word engineer in a company title unless they employ engineers, etc.. Enforcement is by the provinical associations, with help from the company registrar.

In England one would have to persuade the principal engineering institutions to initiate a change to registration and legal protection of the word. They like being intellectual institutions and might have some form of charitable status. They are established by Royal Charter, not government legislation. I am a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and I don't get the impression that they are very interested in getting into what you propose.

#3 dank

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 17:31

Yes, yes, and thrice yes. This is something worth getting one's knickers in a twist about.

An engineer is a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve real life practical problems which may hinder future progression. Not a call out helper who works for Currys and fixes your telly.

#4 Greg Locock

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 21:50

The UK's institutes have been banging on about this for as long as I've been an engineer. Nothing has changed. Said institutes also muddied the waters by introducing rubbish titles like Incorporated Engineer and so on.

Anyway I decided i was getting very little out of my membership, so resigned. I won't join the Australian lot because of a few nasty things they did a while back. I might yet join the SAE, they don't seem to have their heads up their orifices.



#5 bigleagueslider

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:21

I'm not familiar with how things work in the UK, but how would an engineer benefit by having such a title bestowed on their job classification? As a design engineer myself, it would be nice to have my professional efforts formally acknowledged. But on the other hand, if the general public doesn't care, it won't hurt my feelings.

In the US there are licensed Professional Engineers, and they receive that certification through a standardized examination process. Once certified, they have the right to add a "PE" after their name if they choose. Otherwise, in the US the term engineer is used by many job classifications that have nothing to do with design. For example, bulldozer drivers are called "Operating Engineers". Go figure.

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#6 Greg Locock

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:24

Oh I wouldn't mind if engineer was a proper protected title, but I shudder to think that anyone holds up the USAn scheme as a good model. The first bit (FE test) is ok, although it seems to me that if you've got your degree from an EBIT uni then asking you more technical questions is just double work, and some unis encourage you to take FE while AT uni, which is a bit of a headscratcher. The requirement for mentoring is excellent. The second exam (PPE) is a farce, to a professional exam taker like myself, but only really works in the fields where they work to code, not analysis.

Where it really goes wrong is in the applicability, and the way it is on a state by state basis. Cars are designed by non PEs. I think we're even asked not to put it on our business cards. Aircraft, computers, guns and trains are all non PEs. PEs design targets. Originally licensure was introduced to stop amateurs designing things that killed lots of other people accidentally like bridges and boilers.



#7 Magoo

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:17

In the US there are licensed Professional Engineers, and they receive that certification through a standardized examination process. Once certified, they have the right to add a "PE" after their name if they choose. Otherwise, in the US the term engineer is used by many job classifications that have nothing to do with design. For example, bulldozer drivers are called "Operating Engineers". Go figure.


Sure. We also have, not just in the USA but throughout the English-speaking world, the similar and allied professions known as power engineer and stationary engineer. Also nuclear engineer, steam plant engineer, and railroad engineer... the latter receiving an oil can, a red kerchief, and an awesome hat, so this is obviously the pinnacle of the engineering profession. Traditionally, people who work with engines are known as engineers. For, oh, hundreds of years now. These days we also have the software engineers of silicon valley and in recording studios, sound engineers. In the 1950s, trash collectors became sanitation engineers and housewives became domestic engineers. So good luck to these "professional engineering" folks but they have a touching naivete about how the English language works.

#8 Greg Locock

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:34

I vaguely remember some pollie promising new toys for everyone, and a new train for every engineer. Happy Christmas, boyzngurlz.

#9 jatwarks

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 13:23

Traditionally, people who work with engines are known as engineers.


For info.

From the Oxford English Dictionary.

Engine.
Origin:
Middle English (formerly also as ingine): from Old French engin, from Latin ingenium 'talent, device', from in- 'in' + gignere 'beget'; compare with ingenious. The original sense was 'ingenuity, cunning' (surviving in Scots as ingine), hence 'the product of ingenuity, a plot or snare', also 'tool, weapon', later specifically denoting a large mechanical weapon; whence a machine (mid 17th century), used commonly later in combinations such as steam engine, internal-combustion engine.

Engineer.
Noun
1. A person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or structures. a person qualified in a branch of engineering, especially as a professional:

An Aeronautical Engineer.

2. A person who controls an engine, especially on an aircraft or ship.

North American: A Train Driver.

3. A skilful contriver or originator of something:

The Prime Engineer of the approach

#10 Magoo

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 16:45

For info.

From the Oxford English Dictionary.

Engine.
Origin:
Middle English (formerly also as ingine): from Old French engin, from Latin ingenium 'talent, device', from in- 'in' + gignere 'beget'; compare with ingenious. The original sense was 'ingenuity, cunning' (surviving in Scots as ingine), hence 'the product of ingenuity, a plot or snare', also 'tool, weapon', later specifically denoting a large mechanical weapon; whence a machine (mid 17th century), used commonly later in combinations such as steam engine, internal-combustion engine.

Engineer.
Noun
1. A person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or structures. a person qualified in a branch of engineering, especially as a professional:

An Aeronautical Engineer.

2. A person who controls an engine, especially on an aircraft or ship.

North American: A Train Driver.

3. A skilful contriver or originator of something:

The Prime Engineer of the approach


Like I said.


#11 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 01:25

In the USA you only need to obtain a licence if you are offering engineering services to the public. If you are only working within a company, then you do not need to be licenced. In Canada if you are working as an Engineer, you need to be licenced, period. (Apart from train drivers of course!)

#12 Greg Locock

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:09

In Canada if you are working as an Engineer, you need to be licenced, period. (Apart from train drivers of course!)


The advantage of which can be seen in the huge amount of product design that is done in Canada. More significantly, 2/3 of Canada's engineering graduates don't find work as engineers. The Canadian system is less illogical than the USAn one, but seems to produce relatively poor outcomes.

Edited by Greg Locock, 02 January 2012 - 10:10.


#13 Magoo

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:02



#14 Greg Locock

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 18:54





#15 Paolo

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 19:04

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#16 Sisyphus

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 20:05

Oh I wouldn't mind if engineer was a proper protected title, but I shudder to think that anyone holds up the USAn scheme as a good model. The first bit (FE test) is ok, although it seems to me that if you've got your degree from an EBIT uni then asking you more technical questions is just double work, and some unis encourage you to take FE while AT uni, which is a bit of a headscratcher. The requirement for mentoring is excellent. The second exam (PPE) is a farce, to a professional exam taker like myself, but only really works in the fields where they work to code, not analysis.

Where it really goes wrong is in the applicability, and the way it is on a state by state basis. Cars are designed by non PEs. I think we're even asked not to put it on our business cards. Aircraft, computers, guns and trains are all non PEs. PEs design targets. Originally licensure was introduced to stop amateurs designing things that killed lots of other people accidentally like bridges and boilers.


Greg, I don't know why you think the PE exam is a farce--good luck if anyone thinks they can pass it without being properly prepared! It is quite difficult, particularly the afternoon part that requires you to analyze several problems and answer a series of questions about them. When I took the exam (in California), only about 40 percent passed on the first try. I spent 100 hours in a review course and about 200 hours working problems every weekend to prepare for it.

The EIT (first exam) taken at the end of college is also good, I think, because it covers ALL the topics you've had in 4 years from chemistry, Calculus, physics, as well as thermodynamics and the other engineering courses. That exam is typically a big challenge, I think, if you try to take it after you've been out of school a few years and have forgotten a lot of the details you don't use everyday.

Being able to pass the PE exam whether or not you need it for your job (and most of us who work for corporations don't)--it definitely separates the real engineers from the posers.

But, alas, engineers, licensed or not, don't get the respect they deserve for solving the world's problems and I don't see that changing soon--and certainly not by decreeing who can call themselves an engineer.

C'est la vie. We have the best job of all and I guess that must be its own reward.

#17 Greg Locock

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 20:16

Greg, I don't know why you think the PE exam is a farce...

The EIT (first exam) taken at the end of college is also good, I think, because it covers ALL the topics you've had in 4 years from chemistry, Calculus, physics, as well as thermodynamics and the other engineering courses. That exam is typically a big challenge, I think, if you try to take it after you've been out of school a few years and have forgotten a lot of the details you don't use everyday.

For the second exam I tried some trial questions in a field I knew little about (design of wooden floors) and was able to answer them directly from the reference materials supplied. No revision, no prior knowledge. Mind you when I see some of the technical questions asked by Structural engineers on eng-tips is is pretty obvious that they were never taught or paid no attention to the fundamentals.

The first exam (FE ?) if you take it at uni then it is just another exam. The uni is supposed to have been examining you all along.

If you take it after uni then yes it serves a purpose.But how can you assign much meaning to a pass if many are taking it at uni?

#18 Wolf

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 20:36

My 2c worth says that PE, as a certificate of skill, should be a good thing. In my expirience, university degree alone is not a guarantee for much- so an exam (like we have in law practice*) would be welcome... If I had a company, I'd certainly be more prone to employ someone who took the trouble to become PE, even without uni education, than univ. mr. ing. (a title I would hold if I didn't prefer old-fashioned dipl. ing. and refused to pay for a certificate- in a way, I do feel that quality of technical knowledge has dropped with switch to bologna, among other things).

* according to ourt law, one can have a law degree from University, but in order to practice law it is neccessary to pass an exam before the bar

#19 BRG

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 22:17

I do hope that this isn't about creating a closed shop for engineers, so that they can demand higher wages....

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#20 Wolf

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 22:43

BRG- depends on how one defines engineers. Without PE, I'd guess that in Britain, like over here, the only way to obtain engineering degree is through university education. If that is the case, it would be opening the shop to those who have the knowledge, but not university degree by allowing them to become recognised engineers after fullfilling the requirements. And in that respect, it makes sense to me, and was more or less the gist of my post...

#21 Magoo

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 22:56

I do hope that this isn't about creating a closed shop for engineers, so that they can demand higher wages....


Oh sure, like that could happen. To paraphrase Jackie Stewart, nobody is ever going to pay you more than you are worth.


#22 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 00:11

There should be no difference between the term engineer or 'professional engineer' such as in the example of an engineer who's never been to universtity in their life but has worked in manufacturing industry using most/all of the accepted engineering practices in production from fabrication/welding,machining and fitting etc.

It's usually been a case of design engineers work mostly in the office designing things while production engineers work on the shop floor putting what the designers have designed into reality and each is as important as the other,although pay rates and status within the industry have never seemed to recognise that.

#23 jatwarks

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:27

The main reason for wanting to raise the profile of Engineers in the UK is to attract more students into the discipline.

A short history;

A previous UK government decided that it wanted to be responsible for all school leavers going on to become graduates, as the norm; the main effect of their policies was that many very useful Polytechnics and Technical Colleges converted to University status and offered degrees instead of vocational qualifications.

New undergraduates, who would have taken technically useful BTEC courses in the past, now opted for degrees that they could pass; notably Media Studies. This seemed to fit in with the theory that many school leavers believed that they didn't have to study for a career as they were going to be discovered by a reality TV show.

As an aside, tabloid headlines started to report that large numbers of graduates were unemployed (as you would expect when they have such degrees; reminds me of the fashion for Psychology/Sociology degrees in the 1970s).

Someone then noticed that Math and Science subjects were being shunned as too difficult!

So, a new scheme has been devised for some universities to offer vocational courses (become polytechnics?) in order to redress the balance.

The current economic crisis has highlighted the UKs dependence on Financial Services, and its lack of manufacturing capability. Again, moves are being made to redress the balance and attract students into more useful qualifications.

Trying to raise the status of Engineers, to a similar level as Doctors, Lawyers and the like, is part of this process.

Politicians think like this, unfortunately, when the real answer is to pay Engineers a decent salary.

Show me the money!!!

#24 Magoo

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:20

I respect your opinions, but you don’t know what you are talking about. We are nowhere near well paid like the solicitors or the people in the City and yet we design and build cars, electric lines, computer networks, bridges, you name it. We make the world go round without you noticing (and don’t steal from your pension funds either).


I said: "To paraphrase Jackie Stewart, nobody is ever going to pay you more than you are worth." You are not overpaid. You will never be overpaid. That is an impossibility in our economic system. The very idea that you, acting alone or in combination, can upend the system and make the engine of commerce run backward is an utter absurdity. It is a lie taught you by your betters to keep you in your place.



#25 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 13:18

an engineer [ingenieur, ingegnere, ingeniero, etc] is exactly like a medical doctor or a solicitor, who first went to engineering school at university and then practice the profession. Not someone who has been screwing nuts all his life on the floor shop


I think it's possible to work on the shop floor as an engineer doing a lot more than just 'screwing nuts' without the need for the university education.It seems to me like the acedemics have an inflated idea of their importance and look down on anyone who doesn't conform to their idea of 'the profession'.

#26 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 13:25

You are right Magoo, apologies if I was a bit harsh. Just I promised myself not to post on the subject. It’s the “closed shop” that shifted it!

Indeed, the problem is that it’s too much of an open shop. Everybody can call themselves engineers without being qualified in the slightest, or not knowing what it means.

On the basis of my background - between the lines of my previous post - if you haven’t studied engineering at uni, you cannot call yourself engineer, to begin with. In most places, if you haven’t passed the professional examination [on the merit of which I am not going as the story would get very long], you cannot call yourself engineer.

If someone thinks he can become a good engineer without a formal university education because perhaps Brunel and Colin Chapman didn’t have one, well, good luck. But they better think again.

I am not being protective of my status. I am currently concept designing a 1.2 km long bridge/viaduct (“iconic” one, the key crap word). There are not many people around who can do that in my place, let alone without a formal education. If someone thinks he can, he’s most welcome as I really long for someone to tell me how to do things, but I always have to solve my technical problems on my own… and that’s fun, of course!



I obviously agree on the economics. That’s the way it works.



There's plenty of good engineers in the motor industry doing jobs like engine re conditioning.As far as I know you don't take the engine of a classic Ferrari worth millions to a bridge designer when it needs a professional rebuild and machining amongst other possible issues that might need to be resolved.It would also be a bit stupid to turn down the services of a good engineer with plenty of experience in that line of work just because he hasn't ever been near a university.

#27 Greg Locock

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 18:44

"The main reason for wanting to raise the profile of Engineers in the UK is to attract more students into the discipline."

oh ok, in that case I oppose it 100%. I need more good engineers, not stupid ones.




#28 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 19:12

In North America, the difference between and engineer, or technician, and a Professional Engineer, is that the P.Eng. is given a seal which he is required to apply to any drawings, designs or reports that he has been responsible for. The operative word is RESPONSIBLE, for this has legal implications if there is anything wrong with what has done. In other words a P. Eng. can be sued, and needs to have Errors & Omissions insurance. The Licensing bodies can, and do, also take discilpinary action for negligence or any unprofessional conduct.

#29 Greg Locock

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 19:26

Yup. I asked recently what value a PE would add to a car or aircraft program. Crickets.

PE works where design to code is the norm, if you've got design for function and prototypes, then the concept breaks down.

#30 BRG

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 20:12

If someone thinks he can become a good engineer without a formal university education because perhaps Brunel and Colin Chapman didn’t have one, well, good luck. But they better think again.

Well, I've thought again. And then I thought a third time. Then I read a few more posts here.

Of the four best engineers that I know personally, not one went near a university. It seems to me that this proposal will just produce the classic British class distinction between 'officers' - with fancy degrees and fancy salaries - and 'enlisted men' who will do all the real work and get their hands dirty.

It ain't broke so don't try to fix it.

#31 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 20:13

Yup. I asked recently what value a PE would add to a car or aircraft program. Crickets.

PE works where design to code is the norm, if you've got design for function and prototypes, then the concept breaks down.


I an sorry, but I totally disagree.

#32 garoidb

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 20:55

"The main reason for wanting to raise the profile of Engineers in the UK is to attract more students into the discipline."

oh ok, in that case I oppose it 100%. I need more good engineers, not stupid ones.


Presumably the idea is to attract more bright students (even if they are accompanied by some less able ones too). Creating more competition for places on engineering degree programmes could be a good thing. While initiatives to protect the title Engineer are, IMO, not going anywhere, publicising the value and job satisfaction of engineering careers is not a bad thing.

#33 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 21:04

Well, I've thought again. And then I thought a third time. Then I read a few more posts here.

Of the four best engineers that I know personally, not one went near a university. It seems to me that this proposal will just produce the classic British class distinction between 'officers' - with fancy degrees and fancy salaries - and 'enlisted men' who will do all the real work and get their hands dirty.


I think that is an accurate description of the experience of most shop floor workers in the British manufacturing industries over the years or the rank and file of the services like the REME.No one is saying that the designers aren't clever but those who take the drawings and turn them into the finished piece of precision engineering product or who could fix a broken piece of military equipment in a field workshop,most of who never went to any university to learn their trade,deserve at least as much,if not more,respect for their work and the knowledge learnt at the sharp end of actually doing the job.

Edited by Vanishing Point, 03 January 2012 - 21:07.


#34 Greg Locock

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 21:40

Presumably the idea is to attract more bright students (even if they are accompanied by some less able ones too). Creating more competition for places on engineering degree programmes could be a good thing. While initiatives to protect the title Engineer are, IMO, not going anywhere, publicising the value and job satisfaction of engineering careers is not a bad thing.

More competition would be fine, opening the floodgates on admissions is what the academics want. You'd have to get a damn lot of job satisfaction to make up for the pathetic pay in the UK for engineers.

http://www.payscale....ears_Experience
http://www.payscale....ears_Experience

#35 Magoo

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 21:43

I think that is an accurate description of the experience of most shop floor workers in the British manufacturing industries over the years or the rank and file of the services like the REME.No one is saying that the designers aren't clever but those who take the drawings and turn them into the finished piece of precision engineering product or who could fix a broken piece of military equipment in a field workshop,most of who never went to any university to learn their trade,deserve at least as much,if not more,respect for their work and the knowledge learnt at the sharp end of actually doing the job.


That is perfectly true but that doesn't make them mechanical engineers. Machinists, mechanics, millwrights, diemakers, etc, all have valuable skills, but these are not necessarily engineering skills. The first place most non-engineers fall short is in their math skills, followed closely by other aspects of sissified book-learnin' like chemistry and kinematics.

Yes, respect. By all means, for everyone who toils. I submit that cooks are every bit as as valuable to society as engineers. If you don't eat, you won't be engineering very long, and if you don't eat well, life isn't terribly worth living. However, a cook is still not a mechanical engineer. Teaching is also a valuable profession. Without teachers it would be much more difficult to create mechanical engineers. However, teachers are not mechanical engineers, either. You are confusing different things, a remarkably frequent occurrence in your posts.


#36 Magoo

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 21:56

If you wanted to make a lot of money in a given trade, first you would want to that skill to be very rare, if not unique. (If you were the only person on earth who could supply a given service, that would be perfect. You could name your price.) You would also want to make this skill as difficult as possible to identify and qualify, further increasing the demand relative to the supply. Then people would come looking for you, begging you to please take their money, instead of you searching them out and begging them.

#37 Canuck

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 22:06

Greg - did you have / continue to have a particularly bad experience with Canadian and/or American engineers? Your responses seem fairly self-evident that you don't think very highly of them. My own biased experience would suggest rather the opposite of your "good for design-to-code only, no self-thinking" perspective.
When our sister division in the US had problems with their prototypes, our (Canadian) engineering division sorted it. When tasked with a joint development program between our Canadian and UK offices, the Canadian projects hit every single toll-gate on time, landed on or under-budget. Prototype testing went exceptional in-house save for the one tool desired by a "mechanical deigner" - a title and position I took after he left. Once his disaster was corrected, the completed suite of tools was delivered for field testing by the end-user. To say they gave rave reviews is an understatement - they placed a multi-million purchase agreement for multiple sets to be built "exactly like that - don't change a thing". The tools are touted as the best of their type in the world.

Meanwhile, back in our UK offices the engineering team of more than triple has yet to hit a single toll-gate on time, has spent millions (enough to cancel another project) on redesigns and still hasn't delivered on their single contribution to the tool string. Their prototypes were so poorly designed and unbelievably complicated, they couldn't build them.

No - in my experience, Canadian engineers are far more practical, have better customer-awareness and are every bit as clever as any, anywhere.

#38 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 22:16

That is perfectly true but that doesn't make them mechanical engineers. Machinists, mechanics, millwrights, diemakers, etc, all have valuable skills, but these are not necessarily engineering skills. The first place most non-engineers fall short is in their math skills, followed closely by other aspects of sissified book-learnin' like chemistry and kinematics.

Yes, respect. By all means, for everyone who toils. I submit that cooks are every bit as as valuable to society as engineers. If you don't eat, you won't be engineering very long, and if you don't eat well, life isn't terribly worth living. However, a cook is still not a mechanical engineer. Teaching is also a valuable profession. Without teachers it would be much more difficult to create mechanical engineers. However, teachers are not mechanical engineers, either. You are confusing different things, a remarkably frequent occurrence in your posts.


Correct me if I'm wrong.But you seem to be saying that someone who's done an apprenticeship,or at least been trained by those who know what they are doing,in the precision engineering sector of the manufacturing industry,in which they've got their skills in machining,fitting,etc etc down to a fine art and then get called up to use those skills for military service in the REME, but those skills aren't actually engineering skills.In which case the final E in that title must have been put there by mistake by the British Army and anyone who works on the shop floor of a precision engineering company with the job title of engineer isn't actually an engineer.

And you say I'm confused. :drunk: :stoned:

A quick check seems to show that the description of turner and fitter still seems to apply to the job title mechanical engineer worldwide in the english speaking world.

http://www.defencejo...ineeringFitter/

Edited by Vanishing Point, 03 January 2012 - 22:24.


#39 Canuck

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 22:22

Chain-posting!

Having looked at the salary chart, UK engineers get hosed. Badly.

One of things I wanted to blather about re: formal title vs not. I am not an engineer but worked in the engineering department as a mechanical designer. As pointed out, one can not call themselves an engineer without completing both school and practicum nor can you have an engineering firm without having a PEng on staff who takes responsibility for the work. Protecting titles like "Mechanical Engineer" or "Electrical Engineer" does not mean you're guaranteed an excellent engineer any more than going to the doctor and dealing with an MD promises the brightest doc on the block. It means only that they have been taught a minimum standard of theory which they may or may not put to good use in the future.

As a licensed journeyman mechanic, it used to boggle my mind and infuriate me that my qualifications were no different than the boob down the street who installed wheel bearings without grease or oil lines without clamps, pistons in backwards and so on. At least the PEng has his or her ass on the line if they foul it up.


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#40 Vanishing Point

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 22:34

Chain-posting!

Having looked at the salary chart, UK engineers get hosed. Badly.



Which is one of the reasons why I didn't want to follow my old Dad into the trade of being an engineer,in the accepted sense of the word,and chose to be a truck driver instead.In which case the pay was just as good/bad but the difference was I enjoyed the job whereas I didn't enjoy being shut in a factory all day.

#41 Greg Locock

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 00:37

I've only worked for long with one Canadian engineer, he was fine.

But, the point I was making (or failing to make) was that the PE system in the USA is heavily focussed on design to code. The legal side only works if you are designing to code, it falls apart when it comes to design for function.

For instance, how would one engineer sign off a vehicle crash program, stating that all work had been personally supervised by him? That's what a PE does when he signs a design off. We have something like 40 crash FEA guys, working in two locations. We have test engineering staff, working at one of those locations, but who test cars in any of three locations, one in the USA. Then you have the body design engineers working with the crash FEA people. finally you have the software guys looking after the electronic side. You are talking about roughly one hundred engineers scattered over one hemisphere of the globe, which according to the PE way of doing things are personally supervised by the chap who signs the paper, who is also signing that he is working within his field of competency. There's a reason why NASA is outside the PE system, and its the same with Boeing, and car companies. Not surprising, we all roughly follow NASA type program structures. You have to when the tradeoffs are multidiscipline and the boundaries for optimisation are tight.





#42 bigleagueslider

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:36

In the USA you only need to obtain a licence if you are offering engineering services to the public. If you are only working within a company, then you do not need to be licenced. In Canada if you are working as an Engineer, you need to be licenced, period. (Apart from train drivers of course!)


That's not entirely true. In the US aerospace industry, most aircraft companies employ engineers that are licensed by the FAA. They are called Designated Engineering Representatives (DER's), and they have FAA approval authority.

#43 bigleagueslider

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:57

I've only worked for long with one Canadian engineer, he was fine.

But, the point I was making (or failing to make) was that the PE system in the USA is heavily focussed on design to code. The legal side only works if you are designing to code, it falls apart when it comes to design for function.

For instance, how would one engineer sign off a vehicle crash program, stating that all work had been personally supervised by him? That's what a PE does when he signs a design off. We have something like 40 crash FEA guys, working in two locations. We have test engineering staff, working at one of those locations, but who test cars in any of three locations, one in the USA. Then you have the body design engineers working with the crash FEA people. finally you have the software guys looking after the electronic side. You are talking about roughly one hundred engineers scattered over one hemisphere of the globe, which according to the PE way of doing things are personally supervised by the chap who signs the paper, who is also signing that he is working within his field of competency. There's a reason why NASA is outside the PE system, and its the same with Boeing, and car companies. Not surprising, we all roughly follow NASA type program structures. You have to when the tradeoffs are multidiscipline and the boundaries for optimization are tight.


Greg Locock,

You make an interesting point. In the US, PE's and licensed engineers are basically data checkers, not designers. When they sign-off on an engineering package, all they are saying is that the data submitted meets the minimum code requirements. It's just a way for government bureaucrats to cover their rear ends.

With regards to NASA programs, I have worked on several, and they don't use PE's for a reason. The typical individual PE doesn't have the level of expertise needed to fully review any given program. On one piece of hardware I designed for the Space Shuttle program, there were over 40 people involved in the final Critical Design Review. Incidentally, several of them were Canadian engineers from MDR. :yawnface:

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#44 Ninja2b

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 22:12

This petition was also done a few years back and got enough signatures to pass the threshold for discussion - but the governments response was that "Chartered Engineer" was already a protected title, governed by the Engineering Council UK through the professional bodies (IMechE, IET etc.) and so protecting "Engineer" was not required.

My main issue with this is that it prejudices people's opinion of what actual engineers do, and this has a negative impact on the number of young people (particularly women) choosing engineering and STEM subjects in general as they go through school. Who would sign up for an engineering degree if they thought all that study led to a career installing home broadband?

I'm just not sure how this all happened. For some reason a lot of technicians and machinists seem to be 'ashamed' of their role, and so decided to call themselves engineers. I'm an engineer and have a huge amount of respect for the work that skilled technicians and machinists do (I certainly couldn't do it!) but just because their work is difficult does not mean it's engineering.

To me, engineering is not about how you were educated, it is about your application of science and scientific methodologies to practical problem solving. Technicians often have incredible practical problem solving skills, but it isn't science based. Again, that isn't to say that one is better or worse - they are just different. I see it as much the same as Doctors and Nurses - both different fields with different skillsets required. But you don't see Nurses calling themselves Doctors for no particular reason.

Particularly in the UK we need to do more to educate the general populace about what Engineers actually do, so that young people can appreciate what an interesting and exciting career path it is...

#45 Greg Locock

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:26

Particularly in the UK we need to do more to educate the general populace about what Engineers actually do, so that young people can appreciate what an interesting and exciting career path it is...


Is there any evidence to suggest that people who are about to go to university seriously think that fixing washing machines etc is what engineering is about?

While we're at it shouldn't we also be advertising the high attrition rate both at uni, and during careers?


#46 Wolf

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:46

Is there any evidence to suggest that people who are about to go to university seriously think that fixing washing machines etc is what engineering is about?

While we're at it shouldn't we also be advertising the high attrition rate both at uni, and during careers?


I hate to disagree with you, Greg, but I feel I ought to on this point... From my expirience, most mechanical engineering students either don't care what this effing 'mechanical engineering' is all about as long as they get their diploma (which is a nice way to increase your pay grade in case one's lucky enough to land a job which requires univ. mr. ing. mech. to sell cars, or even better yet, work in govt. controlled bussines), and the majority of the rest get their interest in things mechanical beaten out of their system by a number of 'academic standards'. Uni I attended is, is often blamed for not producing engineers that would satisfy basic requirements of the industry demand (if there was any to speak of), to which they laconicaly reply they're interested in producing (and I quote) "more scientific type of engineers" (trust me, not one in ten of them has ever seen a lathe in their lives, let alone seen a gear bing turned)...

As for attrition rate... You may be somewhat privy to my Uni involvement (a thing for which I feel I ought to appologize), but attrition may not only be related to either students or curriculum- I've parted company with my Uni on far less than friendly terms*, becuse I felt the students were given absolutely nothing in exchange for enormous waste of time and resources... Actually, there is a fair number of prospective engineers driven out of the system because of the system's failings (just as much as are drawn into it by the same reasons)- e.g. during my involvement on Uni, over 80% students of automotive design felt themselves forced to sign off from that curriculum because of aforementioned reasons (and those are the ones that might've shown promise in the field)...

* is that the correct term for yelling on one's boss (he may have been so, according to his ph.d and a title- but my 7 y.o. god-son has more interest and knowledge of things automotive; and my 'boss' was head of seat for engine and automotive design of my country's most prestigious University), sending him to a place one shuld not mention, and adding no fewer than five instances of 'adding insult to injury'?

#47 jatwarks

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:38

I see it as much the same as Doctors and Nurses - both different fields with different skillsets required. But you don't see Nurses calling themselves Doctors for no particular reason.

A good analogy.

The fault may lay with some of the typical employers of engineers, particularly in the public sector. And, of course, the accountants who now run industry in the UK.

My wife is a nurse and carries out practical procedures with patients that doctors take responsibility for. She is skilled and experienced in those procedures and, occasionally, shows the doctor how to do them themselves when necessary.

The world is changing rapidly.

The government wants all nurses to be graduates in the future, and to spend less time nursing patients; instead they will supervise Clinical Assistants, and take responsibility for their work. The number of nurses will be reduced to about a quarter of their current number, with Clinical Assistants replacing those that leave / retire.

De-skilling and cost saving is the order of the day.

Patient care is carried out by Clinical Assistants instead of nurses.

Supervision is carried out by nurses instead of doctors.

If Engineers were allowed to take on professional status they would be percieved as becoming more expensive.

Employers would want to reduce their numbers on the payroll.

#48 Greg Locock

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 09:10

You may be somewhat privy to my Uni involvement...

Not at all. But what you write sounds even more depressing than my experience at uni, where at a rough guess 40%-50% lasted for the three years and got Honours in engineering.

Then the little pimply faced darlings emerge into the real world, and are now faced with (a) paying off an expensive degree and (b) putting all that learning to use.






#49 cheapracer

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:53

We are nowhere near well paid like the solicitors or the people in the City


The cream of Engineers get the same as the cream of those people and there are plenty of Solicitors and other Professionals who make 'just a basic wage'.

It is up to the individual to determine their own course.


Of the four best engineers that I know personally, not one went near a university.


And the best engineers I know did go to Uni but then I just hosted a friend here for a few days who doesn't have any credentials yet is designing engines and drivelines for major automotive companies. I'll say it again, it is up to the individual to determine their own course. Without drive or purpose you won't get anywhere regardless of your background.

Regardless of their education levels which are very high and they are certainly smarter than me, I am often suggesting changes to the Chinese Engineers here based on real world experience.


It ain't broke so don't try to fix it.


We need to try to improve constantly, stagnation is not a good thing.


#50 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 13:41

The cream of Engineers get the same as the cream of those people and there are plenty of Solicitors and other Professionals who make 'just a basic wage'.

It is up to the individual to determine their own course.

Exactly. If you want to make the money that people in the City make, go and work in the City - that is, if you don't mind being despised by everyone apart from your colleagues and some members of your family :)




And the best engineers I know did go to Uni but then I just hosted a friend here for a few days who doesn't have any credentials yet is designing engines and drivelines for major automotive companies. I'll say it again, it is up to the individual to determine their own course. Without drive or purpose you won't get anywhere regardless of your background.

And I'll say it again, exactly!

Regardless of their education levels which are very high and they are certainly smarter than me, I am often suggesting changes to the Chinese Engineers here based on real world experience.

Ah, I thought so! A mole, paid to sabotage the Chinese automotive business!




We need to try to improve constantly, stagnation is not a good thing.

Exactly. Have I said that before?