Readers often write in to create magazine to discuss issues affecting the engineering profession. Here, one reader writes in response to this article about engineers registration.
I read with great interest the article “Standing strong” (create, October 2019) regarding compulsory registration for all engineers, which chimed with my recent experiences.
On 2 October 2019, I began work on my third engineering start-up company in the past 11 years.
It has turned out fortunate for me that the profession as a whole is moving towards mandatory registration, as is the case for doctors and lawyers and other professions.
Mandatory registration will elevate engineering as a whole, ensure standards are consistently maintained or exceeded, and, if something does go wrong, it will ensure that we learn from this and put into effect corrective action plans to make sure the same or similar situations do not re-emerge.
This is already at the core of all quality processes and procedures, Engineers Australia’s Code of Standards and Ethics, and Stage 2 competencies for Chartered registration. Bringing unregistered engineers into the Engineers Australia’s fold will put all practicing engineers on a level playing field.
With this foundation in mind, I sought to hire currently unregistered practicing engineers who recognised the potential future benefits to their own careers and the engineering profession as a whole, as well as experienced registered engineers to mentor and guide them on a one-to-one basis to Chartered registration.
Much like environmental considerations for the future wellbeing of the planet, this was not on any grounds of economic calculation; even if this arrangement were a matter of economic indifference or disadvantage in the short term, I thought it still ought to take place for the good of the profession and this new start-up that we were creating for the long term.
New start-ups embracing these concepts early on make themselves very attractive to multinationals wanting to invest.
My first startup was in Perth, Western Australia, in 2008 with six people and zero business, but we had innovative ideas and a great deal of corporate experience between us.
Within three years we grew the business to 16 people and $8 million per annum, at which point blue chip companies that wanted to invest in our business were approaching us. Then in 2011, one of these companies wanted to acquire the business and made an offer of 10 times our earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.
This was a great reward for the team after five years of dedicating ourselves to scalable leading edge technology and a professional engineering approach to implementing solutions that could be maintained for up to 25 years.
The road less travelled by engineers is one I can highly recommend and, for unregistered engineers, could provide a path to mentoring and Chartered registration — as we are doing at our latest start-up from day one!