By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

What am I?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Ian B.25/11/2020 09:39:39
163 forum posts
5 photos

This country was warned of this despicable "acedemic drift" as far back as 1970 and the engineering industry training board chaired by Finiston. The destruction he wreaked has proved almost irrepairable.

If we need up to date examples. Just look around at the moment. If you can find your way to to your own anal sphincter muscle with the help of a map and compass you can call yourself a "professor". A statistician calls themselves "scientist". All this when the deputy medical director of the United Kingdom announces on national television in answer to a journalist that decisions in committee were taken on FEBRUARY 30TH 2020. I need say no more about professors chartered engineers and academic drift.


Mick B125/11/2020 09:44:22
1802 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Pete Rimmer on 24/11/2020 23:33:38:

You are what you think you are Jon.

Your small-minded colleague sounds like a person with no imagination and precious little charm.

Quite right. Paper qualifications have only the most casual relationship with actual capability to do the job.

Martin Connelly25/11/2020 10:01:32
1621 forum posts
179 photos

The origin of the word engineer is the same as ingenious. As I understand it to be an engineer is to be ingenious. Some countries do require a degree for someone to call themselves an engineer. I think in Germany they add Ing to their name if they are a qualified engineer.

So in the UK if you are ingenious you can call yourself an engineer. If you have passed exams and have a certificate I suppose you could call yourself a qualified engineer.

Martin C

Samsaranda25/11/2020 10:07:05
1020 forum posts
5 photos

Our society has changed its values over the years, nowadays there is a government push to put as many youngsters as possible through “University”. This means we have nursing staff who spend time at university and all sorts of other trades now have university degrees, I have a cynical thought that it could be a political ploy to change the real scope of youth unemployment, if the youngsters are at uni for three years when they leave and join the labour market if they are unemployed then they figure as adult unemployed and youth unemployment, that is 17’s plus, is a considerably smaller figure. in respect of whether you are a real Engineer without a uni degree then my opinion is that this a form of snobbery practised by some. I was for a while registered as an “Engineering Technician” entitled to use the the letters Eng Tech after my name, this came about purely because of my work experience as an Engineer and the quality of training courses that I completed during employment, no uni degree. Having a uni degree doesn’t make you an Engineer as I have met many so called Engineers, with degrees, that didn’t know which end of a spanner to hold. If you work with any form of engineering in my book you have the right to use the designation of Engineer.

Dave W

Nicholas Wheeler 125/11/2020 10:07:25
453 forum posts
25 photos
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 25/11/2020 09:21:48:

Hi there, all,

Either Rolls or Royce (not the financial partner) denied being an 'engineer' - he claimed to be a 'mechanic'.

Rolls was the 'financial partner', although Henry Royce was already a successful, wealthy businessman.

The traditional definition of mechanic was someone who builds, maintains and repairs machinery, which is a better description of what many model-engineers do. Engineer added 'designs' to that list and usually implied some sort of qualification.

The problem is that meanings in English creep, and so we end up with words being applied willy-nilly and all useful definition is lost. Calling the man who empties a septic tank a 'Sanitation Engineer' is a good example.

Michael Gilligan25/11/2020 10:34:50
17055 forum posts
757 photos
Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 25/11/2020 10:07:25:
Calling the man who empties a septic tank a 'Sanitation Engineer' is a good example.


Perhaps ‘Sanitation Executive’ would be appropriate devil




Edited By Michael Gilligan on 25/11/2020 10:37:27

SillyOldDuffer25/11/2020 10:43:25
6701 forum posts
1507 photos

The term 'Engineer' always needs qualification. First, what sort of engineer, second how well qualified.

A Chemical Engineer does not have the same skills as Mechanical, Electrical, Software, Process, Electronic, Radio, Mining, Civil, Structural or any of the other multitude of engineering specialisations.

To me, capital 'E' Engineering requires solid understanding of both theory and practice. Understanding practical engineering isn't about having the skills yourself, it's knowing that machines can be built to do the job, or men trained to do it. As training is easier than understanding, someone is far more likely to be a capital 'E' engineer if they have qualifications! Little 'e' engineering to me is producing results from other peoples designs. Big 'E' engineering is design work.

Unfortunately 'engineer' is a title with across the board status issues. Most off-putting for University qualified Engineers to discover their employer has them in the same camp as the chap who goes round changing light-bulbs. In the corporate pecking order, Engineers sit well below Managers, Accountants, Salesmen and non-executive board members. Having a degree, and/or a successful track record generally lifts one a little above "Artisans" and "Workers", but Engineers have to be something special to do better than that! This is why qualified engineers are keen to distance themselves from Artisans.

Grossly unfair because organisations need all the skills necessary to deliver. They need skilled people to perform efficiently on the shop-floor, and efficient administrators, and efficient managers, and efficient engineers driving innovation, and efficient salesmen, and efficient accountants, and an effective board, and owners making sensible investment decisions. No-one understands everything - it's a team game, and a bad mistake to undervalue any of the players.

We live in an imperfect world. Plenty of people describe themselves as 'engineers' when they don't know much, or their qualification is out-of-date or wrong for the job.

Recruiting the best people for technical work is downright difficult because learning on the job can be better experience than going to University. Highly qualified with no idea about how to apply theory is bad. So is highly skilled but no idea how to apply theory and innovate. Sandwich courses were an attempt to address the problem, but all too often youngsters keen to apply new ways would be frustrated at work by Old F*rts determined not to lose status by admitting change was necessary. Whitworth is best when you're too set in your ways to understand metric. Self-interest is not engineering!



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 25/11/2020 10:43:53

KWIL25/11/2020 10:46:50
3338 forum posts
63 photos

As I told one of my Managing Directors, I am probably the only person in the company who holds both a Management qualification and also an Engineering one as well, he left me alone after that!

Martin Kyte25/11/2020 10:54:47
2158 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 25/11/2020 10:34:50:
Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 25/11/2020 10:07:25:
Calling the man who empties a septic tank a 'Sanitation Engineer' is a good example.


Perhaps ‘Sanitation Executive’ would be appropriate devil



Ref. **LINK**

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 25/11/2020 10:37:27

Are they not dunnikin divers?

Membership of an engineering institute confers some argument to call yourself an engineer (in fact all it does is allow you to state that you are a member of the institute and add CEng as permitted by their charter, membership of a Model Club or SMEE or even this website would make you a Model Engineer.

It's all a bit academic really. Over 50% of our Lab members are PHD's but no-ne is routinely called doctor so and so in fact the further up you go the less formality there is. Professor Max Ferdinand Perutz OM CH CBE FRS was and is known just as Max. The real test of what you are is what you have done. Qualifications will not get you membership of the Royal Society it has to be earned through recognition of acheivement and by peer review. I think this is something that the engineering institutions could learn from.

regards Martin

derek hall 125/11/2020 11:32:25
123 forum posts

SOD made some very good points...

We had a young electronics graduate start with us a couple of years ago, and didn't know that IC's had to be inserted the right way round, and had never heard of NPN and PNP...said he spent most of the time designing circuits and testing them on computers at uni.

I left skool with nothing, did an apprenticeship and ended up eventually with an HNC/HND mechanical and then HNC electronics years ago, i think the old HNC's had more engineering/technical content than an engineering degree has these days..... some of my mech HNC circa 1983 is still relevant today but much of it isn't.

I eventually was able to register as an IEng but purely to prove to myself that I wasn't thick. I don't care what other people call me !! (insert suitable word here)

A very good friend of mine, ex Navy 20 years, said to me "a guy who has got a degree can work out the square root of a glass of pickles but cannot take the lid off".....made me laugh at the time, but does the degree qualified person "need" to take the lid off when there is someone who is more qualified than him/her to do that?

This sort of discussion has been going on for years and will continue as the job title "engineer" is not protected i.e. anyone can call themselves and advertise themselves, as engineers.....

Shame really as say the word engineer to a skool leaver looking for a career suggests that its a job with an adjustable spanner and an oily rag......Engineering opens up a huge world of opportunities and job satisfaction. I have spent the last 25 years travelling the world running training courses for my company - never in a million years did I think I would end up do this when I left skool with a grade 5 CSE in French....

Regards to all


Circlip25/11/2020 11:56:25
1220 forum posts

Not just today Derek, Luckily, sixty years ago, I ignored the comments of the overall clad teenagers on the top deck of a smoke filled bus decrying engineering. I had a super time (mostly) despite being a PROPER apprentice with wages to match.

Regards Ian.

Georgineer25/11/2020 11:57:23
452 forum posts
25 photos
Posted by mechman48 on 24/11/2020 23:12:59:

... back in my youth all [nurses] needed to be was SEN & SRN.

I married an SRN. It was the 15 foot rubber skirt that attracted me.

My father achieved high engineering office and Fellowship of the IEE with an HNC and a couple of endorsements. During my time, those running the IEE pulled the ladder up behind them so that eventually you couldn't get in with less than an honours degree, an interview and a written dissertation. I never bothered.

I agree with everything that has been said in this thread. Everything. It's a complicated issue, and we're no nearer to an answer than we ever were.

George B.

Paul L25/11/2020 12:27:05
50 forum posts
24 photos

If you can engineer a solution to a problem, then you are an engineer.

JA25/11/2020 12:29:06
1060 forum posts
54 photos

When I started my apprenticeship in the mid 1960s the engineering institutions were vigorously trying to defend the definition of engineer. I now think they have given up. In English the definition is so wide that no one has a clue what it means and have not done so for 200 years. A possible ancester of mine was an engineer at a small cloth mill in Calne. According to the 1841 census he was an engineer: He looked after the steam engine and made minor running repairs to it and the looms. That is a wider scope of work than that of a railway locomotive engineer (a title that was used in this country and the States).

I think there are better job titles that can be used such as technician, technologist and specialist. Which one would apply to a model engineer? Perhaps even model manager.

Throughout my working life, as a mechanical engineer, all the work was interesting and the pay was generally sensible. Perhaps I could have got more money as a supermarket manager as one department head used to remind us when we were rebellious.


Howard Lewis25/11/2020 12:33:11
4163 forum posts
3 photos

To be a member of a Chartered Engineering Institute, a degree is needed.

Many years ago,someone with a HNC or HND could, by two years further study for further endorsements, become one; but then things changed.

The chances are that the HNC / HND person will have had more practical experience than the one with a degree, but not in every case.

To spend a gap year in our Quality Engineering Department, an undergraduate had prove that they had real engineering interest and ability.

I can recall only three who were less than good. The others soon became capable of working almost without supervision, and after graduation, went on to better things,both within the company, it's parent, and elsewhere.

But they had had to mix their theoretical studies with practical experience, on the shop floor.

As one of my Chartered Engineer supervisors (Well known in Model Engineering circles ) once said "They need a bit of dirt under their fingernails"

Its no good being so heavenly minded as to be no earthly use.


Nigel Bennett25/11/2020 14:08:54
379 forum posts
11 photos

"An engineer is someone who can make for five bob what any bloody fool can make for a quid."

Not a bad definition, really. It appears in Neville Shute's Trustee from the Toolroom. With regard to University education, we had a chap who spent a short period of time with us in the Engineering Office. He had a Masters Degree in Engineering from, I think, Huddersfield University. He didn't have a clue. He claimed to be competent in SolidWorks, but he was absolutely useless. He didn't even know what a countersunk screw was. We were glad to throw him out after a week of his supposedly fortnight's work experience.

So University education sometimes means very little.

Possibly the best qualification you can get is CDTE. Competent Due To Experience.

J Hancock25/11/2020 14:31:57
510 forum posts

Insert what you think you are in place of 'man' in Rudyard Kipling's ' If''.

Answer that truthfully and that's what you are.

KWIL25/11/2020 15:41:58
3338 forum posts
63 photos

I am with Nigel Bennett, we had a Grdauate who spent most of his time telling us how hard he had worked for his Degree and that he did not intend to work that hard again, he did not last long, staff members and management saw to that.

On another occasion whilst visiting a well known national establishment, I was told that they had many engineers who started with them, who could design many things but none of them capable of being made!

Old School25/11/2020 16:31:19
370 forum posts
36 photos

I am with KWILL on this we used a local university engineering department and their final year students to design a piece of plastic extrusion downstream handling equipment as a project for them and we would pay for it to be built.

The build was started by a local engineering company that was our go to supply for this type of project. It proved to be very difficult to build even after checking by by the head of department. The project was abandoned as not viable to make as it needed a total redesign.

Mick B125/11/2020 17:24:37
1802 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Nigel Bennett on 25/11/2020 14:08:54:

"An engineer is someone who can make for five bob what any bloody fool can make for a quid."


I think it's a very limited definition. An engineer is someone who can make for whatever sum what any bloody fool couldn't make for any sum.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest