Home Professional What value is Chartership in Engineering? (CEng)

What value is Chartership in Engineering? (CEng)

by Barry
A collage of Systems Engineering applications/...

A collage of Systems Engineering applications/projects. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.





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Andy May 18, 2011 - 8:16 pm

I stopped paying my subs when I turned 30 and didn’t qualify for reduced subs anymore. Membership of the IET/IEE brought no benefit. Leaving the UK for a country where Engineers are respected as professionals in the same league as doctors et al has brought benefit. Until the instititions make the use of the word ‘Engineer’ protected for CEng holders they will be of little relevance to Engineering outside the academic world. Just my 2 penneth!

Andy Gibson May 21, 2011 - 11:10 am

Hi Barry,
You make a valid point about Chartership status, and why there is a cost attached. I’ve been a candidate for CEng for 6 years now, but at no time during that period have I been able to justify the expense of attaining it, or staying registered.
Which is a shame, because I think the professional bodies have a big mandate from we engineers to Up The Game; to make engineering something to respect in society, but my understanding is, that without funding from subs and such-like, they struggle to put adequate resources into community projects aimed at improving the standing of engineers in the community.
I HATE the idea that the dude who comes to ‘fix’ our photocopier can call himself an Engineer, but I lament the fact that our Prof. Body is relatively powerless to do anything about it. I wish I knew a solution, but all I can come up with is this:
In his Dimbleby Lecture in 2007, Craig Venter (the Genetic Engineer) was positively evangelical about his ‘belief’ — literally — in the ability of engineers to save mankind from the most desperate challenges we’ve ever faced, from food and water shortages, to energy supplies.
I believe this too, and I think the only way we can REALLY deliver the positive message to the public at large — the message that the Prof. Bodies are kind of failing to deliver — is to work hard at being better engineers, and eulogising about it to anyone who will listen.
Your mentoring is part of the solution. Subs, sadly, are not.

Leigh Brady (CEng) August 23, 2011 - 1:45 pm

Barry, I have to concur.
Having attended the systems safety conference a couple of years ago, I remember meeting you, and you struck me as exactly the kind of person that represents the engineering profession as it should be. Institutions should be reducing subs for those like yourself who make a positive contribution, not increasing them as you progress through the ranks. I understand that the subs for Fellowship are even higher than Chartership!
The prestige of Chartership can only be kept by having decent engineers proudly displaying their postnominals. Many employers do not see a huge benefit of CEng: they certainly don’t offer you more money for having it in most cases!
Having worked in the States, their equivalent – PEng or Professional Engineer requires the candidate to sit a series of tough exams, and it highly prized, especially in the civil engineering field. I feel that getting a CEng in the UK amounts to doing your bird for 4 or 5 years, submitting the form, paying your money and sitting infront of two senior engineers who are more familiar with slide rules than CAD, while they try not to doze off.
I used to be proud of my CEng, but now it seems like every Tom Dick and Harry can get it, and I see it as little more than an old boys club. The only reason I keep paying the subs is that my company pay it for me, which I understand is a rarity.

David Anderson June 10, 2013 - 10:40 am

It is a big scam – keeping a bunch of sycophants and manipulators employed by the various professional institutions. It has to be the biggest scam in the UK engineering “profession”. It gets even more amazing when the employees of these institutions use hundreds of volunteers (social climbers) to build their scam even bigger pretending to actually do something to advance UK engineering. When in fact the bottom line is engineers in the UK are still at the bottom of the social ladder and seen as repair people. The government is still 99.9% run by PPE (philosophy politics economics) from Oxbridge and they are wrecking the country. It is one big joke.

Dale January 15, 2015 - 2:19 pm

What about CSci?

Leigh Smith CEng MIMechE August 20, 2015 - 5:53 pm

“Once you’ve registered as a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Incorporated Engineer (IEng), Engineering Technician (EngTech), you’ll get:

An increase in your earning potential
A qualification with international recognition
Independent verification of your skills and experience”

courtesy of http://www.imeche.org/membership/membership-registration/benefits

in the last two years since I’ve been Chartered, it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference in the organisation I work for or how anyone treats me. It’s a big disappointment to be honest, it does make me wonder whether it was a waste of energy in getting my experience, expertise and achievements recognised.

A recent conversation with another Chartered Engineer who is now a project manager resulted in him basically telling me that I should not expect an increase in pay scale even though I’m the technical expert within the organisation for the my area of specialism, and that I needed to become a manager to progress.

It got me thinking that the real reason behind an ‘engineering skills gap’ is that engineers are becoming project managers as the ‘engineers’ pay rate isn’t proportional to skills, expertise or specialism.


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