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Concerns voiced over the Geological Society’s new chartered status plans

The Geological Society has announced that it intends to launch a route to chartered engineer status as early as this summer but the move has not been widely welcomed by the industry.

“The chartered engineer route was identified in 2015 as an opportunity to increase membership and offer more to existing members,” said Geological Society vice president of chartership John Talbot.

The new route, which would be accredited by the Engineering Council, would be in addition to the chartered geologist and chartered scientist statuses already offered by the society.

Despite plans for the process to meet the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence  (UK-Spec) laid down by the Engineering Council, which all 35 other institutions that currently offer a route to chartered engineer have to meet, some organisations within the ground engineering industry have criticised the move. The lack of consultation, particularly with the society’s own Engineering Group of the Geological Society, is part of the concern and other have called the move “counterproductive”.

Talbot admitted that the content of the documents was not consulted on during the application process to the Engineering Council. He said that the documents required to complete the licencing process are exacting and preparation under a committee or working group would not have been beneficial to the process.

“The Geological Society has got nothing to hide, we just got on with it,” Talbot told GE. “We are now in the process of sharing details of the plan.

“We have had several meetings with the Engineering Council and we are hoping to be licenced by this summer but we need to appoint a panel to achieve this,” he said.

“Applicants will go through a rigorous process and all applicants will need to have achieved an MSc before they will be considered.”

Talbot said that the status is not expected to suit all of the Geological Society’s membership.

“We expect 20 to 25 people to become chartered engineers through this process each year, compared to 150 to 200 who undertake the chartered geologist route and the 10 or 12 people who apply for chartered scientist,” he said.

“People who start out as engineering geologists and currently only have the option to become chartered geologists have a different background to those that have a civil engineering background and currently become chartered engineers through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

“Whichever route people take to chartered engineer, they all need to reach the same competency and the Engineering Council’s UK-Spec sets down the educational requirements and experience, then it is up to each institution to apply those rules to its own specialism.

“This will not be an easy option.”

Talbot, who is a chartered engineer through ICE said: “I will not let this new route dilute my own chartership and no one else needs to worry about their status either. This is just an alternative route for our members.”


Readers' comments (1)

  • Update:
    The Geological Society will be meeting in the near future with those who have expressed concerns over its intention to award CEng status. This meeting will provide an opportunity for all interested parties to understand the various viewpoints on this matter.

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