Attaining your EngTech qualification
By Stuart Russell, Technician Grade 2
As a PBA technician, I recently completed the ICE EngTech professional qualification. Having a qualification such as this sets you apart from others in the industry, so it’s worthwhile and rewarding in itself.
The ICE has recently streamlined the EngTech application process, replacing the report with three specific questions that must each be succinctly answered within a 500-word limit. These answers are submitted alongside the following:
- CPD record (minimum 30, preferably 60+ hours a year) for the last 2/3 years
- Development action plan
- Proof of relevant qualification certificate
This pack is to be reviewed by your sponsors and then submitted to the ICE. There is a document outlining what is required to meet the qualification, but this doesn’t provide examples of answers and what to expect on the day. My own experience is outlined below.
The first step is to identify two sponsors to guide you through the process. This lead sponsor must hold at least EngTech status or higher and should be someone you work closely with. Throughout the application process, the questions can seem daunting and high level, but once broken down they are actually very achievable.
I’ve broken the three original questions down into these, simplified questions. These will vary dependant on your role and experience, but will look something like the below:
- Write about your experience of a project, explaining your role on the project and how you achieved the solution (whether it was designed by you or an Engineer). List any guidance/legislation/principles used to determine that the design work carried out was to standard. Talk about how you communicated any changes to the team and client, focusing, where possible, on design decisions that were based on health and safety risk reduction.
- Discuss a project where you identified that extra fee/time was required to complete the task and mention how you communicated this information to the team/client. Write about how you considered cost, sustainability and health and safety within this project. How did you use the data you had available to achieve the project outcomes?
- Prove you abide by some of the ICE code of conduct by providing examples, write about STEM/CPD you’ve attended and what you learnt from this and how that helps you develop professionally.
Once you have a variety of projects in mind that tick off each of the points, you can begin to write about them. The key with these answers is to be succinct: focus on what you did. Avoid using we -even if you only did a day’s work on a project that is all you should discuss, as the ICE are assessing your competence and not that of the project team. Once you have answered as much of each question as possible it’s time to review the answers with your lead . Once everyone is happy with the document, you submit it alongside the other required files and payment.
Once your interview is confirmed, you can begin preparing your presentation and for questions you are likely to receive based on your application. A 5-minute presentation is optional but highly recommended. It gives you a chance to demonstrate anything you couldn’t fit into the application and ideally you’ll use a project example that wasn’t included in your application. You’ll spend at least 15 minutes of the 45-minute interview talking about subjects the presenters haven’t had chance to analyse. This helps to take the pressure off for the remainder of the interview. Get your sponsors to quiz you on what you have written so you can adequately prepare – your interviewers will be looking to test your knowledge and ensure you know as much as you have claimed in your application. Practice the presentation in front of as many people as possible to prepare you for every eventuality.
As mentioned, this should ideally be based on a project the interviewers haven’t seen in your application. I opted to use an A3 presentation flip book, and had a few slides displaying mainly drawings or pictures enabling me to explain them verbally and demonstrate my knowledge. Take your time and present a few points well, rather than lots of points briefly.
Following your presentation, the interviewers will ask questions about the project you presented to them. It’s good to have some key numbers so you can answer with confidence. The key here is to know enough detail about what you have written. It’s perfectly acceptable to say I do not know, and maybe point out who you would look to in order to find the answer. The whole process is to ensure that you are a competent technician; they will not be expecting you to know lots of technical detail, especially outside of your field of work. Common questions include ‘who is the current ICE president?’ And ‘how you would avoid risk in certain situations?’ Crucially they will test your reaction to situations of risk to confirm that you conduct your role safely. It’s a good idea to have a question to ask the interviewers as they typically end the interview on ‘Is there anything you’d like to ask us?’ My question was ‘What do you think of the proposed HS2 scheme?’.
Once the interview is over, the interviewers will thank you for coming, and you can expect to hear whether you have passed within 6 weeks. Upon passing, you can use ICE after your name and when the Engineering Council have confirmed your membership and you have paid the subscription fee, you are officially an ICE EngTech member and can use this entire designation after your name.
Hoorah! You are now part of a select group of technicians that have attained this qualification, and you can now focus on any further experience required in order to go for ICE IEng in the years to come.