Efforts to raise standing of engineers from different fields

We thank Mr Liu Fook Thim for his letter ("Recognise achievements in all engineering disciplines"; last Thursday).

It is true that engineers, regardless of discipline, deserve to be recognised for their work. The significance of their work lies more in the impact on our economy and our lives than the discipline they are from or the physical size of their projects.

The basis for the Engineering Feats @ IES-SG50 competition is to honour engineering achievements deemed by the public to have made the greatest economic, infrastructural and societal impact to Singapore since 1965. It goes beyond the boundaries of any one engineering discipline.

The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) received very strong support from the industry during the competition process that supported our objectives.

In fact, close to 150 nominated entries came from more than 20 industry sectors, and the 113 shortlisted engineering projects that went into the public voting phase also came from a great variety of sectors, including aerospace, defence and security, infrastructure, manufacturing, infocommunications, biomedical, leisure, marine and transport.

Quite a number of the eventual top 50 winners did come from the infrastructural fields. This is likely because the public can often see and feel these "traditional" types of engineering work as being instrumental in overcoming challenges encountered in Singapore's early years of development. Comparatively, the public may not be as familiar with less traditional types of engineering, such as biomedical and aerospace engineering.

IES recognises the importance of embracing different engineering disciplines in Singapore's future growth. To support this, we have been focusing on raising the professional standing of engineers across different disciplines. For instance, we launched the Chartered Engineer Programme in 2013, the first accreditation programme in Singapore that provides professional recognition to qualified engineers across all sectors.

The first disciplines launched as part of the programme were in aerospace, chemical, environmental, marine and systems, as we acknowledged the roles that professional engineers in these fields play in our future growth.

IES strives to continue to increase awareness and appreciation among the public on the work of engineers across all disciplines, and to excite and entice our younger generation to become engineers. This is a long-term process, and is one that begins with organisations like IES and the Government, and will be sustained with industry support and public acceptance.

Edwin Khew Teck Fook
The Institution of Engineers, Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'Efforts to raise standing of engineers from different fields'. Print Edition | Subscribe