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Creating an engineering council
Last week, I indicated that the typical UWI engineering graduate, generally, would have been given a good theoretical foundation of the engineering science that comprises his/her specific discipline. To become practising engineers, a period of industrial training/internship is necessary. There is no formal system for that in T&T, as is the case in developed countries. Here, registration is purely voluntary. Failure to change this situation will assuredly result in catastrophic and costly consequences.
UWI, UTT, APETT, industry and the state must collectively bear responsibility for this parlous state of affairs. They must come together to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place to ensure that engineers are required to complete a minimum and requisite period of training. This needs to be certified and promulgated as necessary in order to practice as engineers. Would we allow physicians who have not completed their internship to practise? Of course, the answer would be a resounding no.
Then why do we allow engineers to design, supervise, and build complex and costly infrastructure or operate and maintain large plants with training that may be incomplete?
Engineering errors through faulty design or inadequate operation and maintenance practices may result in loss of life, damage to the environment and peoples’ livelihoods. Recent examples of oil spills, industrial fires, building collapses, flooding and vehicle recalls easily come to mind.