Throughout my Engineering degree and after graduation, I was constantly bombarded with professional institutions telling me that I should strive to achieve the pinnacle of Engineering qualifications, the CEng, or Chartered Engineer status.
Since I did not work for a company that had any sort of fast track scheme, I had to take the long (and a bit expensive) route of gathering a lot of evidence against specific competencies, getting my degree accredited, filling out application forms and going through an interview panel. I was really chuffed to gain my Chartered Engineer status, I got a nice certificate and a mention in the Times.
However, its not like gaining an A Level or Degree, this one comes at a price. If you do not pay your Engineering institution subs every year, then you then lose the right to use the CEng Post nominals. Which would not be so bad if it did not cost just under £200 per year. When you consider it, that’s nearly £50 per letter. In theory, it should stand me in good stead for Job Promotion, or if I went for a Job Interview, then it shows a certain standard has been achieved. But in reality, at the moment, I am struggling to justify paying the subs. I know that I have attained the Competence Standards because I have done it, and got the T Shirt to prove it, and my employers know this, so what am I trying to prove?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the standards, what I am skeptical about is the need to pay so much money for the ongoing effort. I have been told it is so I can get more involved in the Engineering community and I do this. I am one of the Technical Committee of the Annual Systems Safety Conference, have been vice chair of the IET Systems Engineering network, as well as being a mentor for others wanting to attain CEng. But (with the last one as an exception) would I have been able to do that anyway and not pay such phenomenal fees, well yes I would as others I have met along the way have been doing just that. Its not a great example to set, but I think in this age of every tightening budgets, we need to be looking at getting real value out of all the money we spend, and I do think this needs to be reviewed here.
I have paid my subs this year, but I think I will be seriously reviewing the situation next year as I think I need more convincing that it is actually worth it.