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Industry Training Accreditation to Improve Through Popular Move

The early months of 2006 will see the birth of a new training accreditation body for engineering professionals with the merger of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE).

The new body will be known as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and will be a vital multi ““ disciplinary body for the sector. It will include the greatest number of professionals from the sector of any such organisation, with members stemming from professional sectors such as ICT, robotics, manufacturing, power engineering, transport, contracting and building services, defence and the armed services.

The Origins of the IEE and IIE

Founded in 1871, the IEE was originally known as the Society of Telegraph Engineers. This name was replaced with the current title of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1889. With some ninety branches across the globe, the IEE currently provides accreditation for degree and post graduate courses in industrial training. It also runs INSPEC, the leading international electronics and physics database, and is responsible for the publication of the standard guidelines for the British electronics industry, the Wiring Regulations.

The IIE also enjoys a long and notable past, stemming from its earliest beginnings in the 1870s, and is the product of a long line of mergers and amalgamations in the past hundred and thirty years by institutions such as the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Incorporated Engineers (IEEIE), the Institution of Mechanical Incorporated Engineers (IMechIE) and the The Institute of Engineers and Technicians (IET) coming together in 1998 to form today’s Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE).

Industry Welcomes Development

Speaking concerning his delight at this prospect, the Government’s Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury, said: “This is excellent news. The new, multidisciplinary, international and inclusive body will be better able to serve its members interests and be fit for purpose in 21st century.” The amalgamation is dependent on the review of the Privy Council, but the prospect of coming together seems to delight the members of the two organizations, with 73.5% of the IEE’s 120,000 membership voting in favour and an enormous 95.7% of the IIE’s 40,000 approving the move.

This pleasure at the prospect runs all the way to the top. Professor John OReilly, President of the IEE, added: “This is an historic step for both institutions. Members have shown themselves ready to embrace the future and ensure that institutions that have served decades of engineers remain relevant in the 21st Century. Engineering is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and global and it is important that institutions reflect the way in which their members operate.”

Adding to the positive response to this development, Lord Trefgarne, President of the IIE, said: “The engineering profession has for far too long been fragmented and undervalued. By bringing together all key members of the technical team, whatever their professional status, IET holds out the hope of creating a more coherent and representative organisation for our profession.”

It is significant that Lord Sainsbury mentioned the need for a better provision for the 21st Century, with both the Sir Andrew Foster Further Education Review and the Trasury ““ motivated Leitch Review on the skills which will be needed in the years ahead due to report shortly. And whilst the amalgamation of the accreditation body may seem to be a step in the right direction towards improving standards across the sector, it remains to be seen how effectively the new amalgamated body will perform disparate tasks formerly the responsibility of many.

Jethro Marsh

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