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Who is an Engineer

There has been a campaign for some years to try and get the term ‘Engineer’ protected in the same way that Architect and Doctor and a few other professions are. The reason being that engineers who have had to attend university to get a degree in engineering and then do a number of years experience before getting fully qualified, get irritated when grouped in with folk that repair washing machines. The truth is that anyone can call themselves an engineer. The only protected name is ‘chartered engineer’ which is a term that few outside of the engineering industries know or understand. We are many decades too late to change any of that now.

I was reminded of this debate today when riding on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway with my family. One of the other passengers managed to get a ‘tour’ of the steam engine’s cab. He mentioned something that the ‘engineer’ had told him. There was a voice in my head that immediately wanted to shout ‘Driver! Not an engineer’. Americans seem to call all their train drivers engineers.

But then I thought about it. They are probably some of the few true engineers left. They actually work with engines. Unlike us chartered engineers who merely work with calculations and computers. Perhaps us chartered engineers are the ones that should be looking for a new job title.

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