The Automation Federation (AF, www.automationfederation.org) and the London-based Institution of Engineering and Technology (www.theIET.org) have signed a formal agreement to collaborate to advance and grow the automation profession. As a part of this, the IET will also join the ISA, the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) and the Wireless Industrial Network Alliance (WINA) in joint activities to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics; promoting the Automation Competency Model; and advancing public awareness of automation and technology.
With 150,000 members in 127 countries, the IET was created in 2006 by joining together the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE), and has a wider engineering remit than just automation. With over 1000 undergraduate programs accredited in the U.K., the IET also has the responsibility for awarding professional registration qualifications under license from the Engineering Council.
In addition, large user organizations use the IET to audit and accredit graduate and other training schemes. The IET is, therefore, the ideal partner for AF and ISA in terms of any expansion of their professional training and accreditation into the U.K., which is a potential future revenue generation area.
In the U.K., the current government approach to legislating for an increase in tuition fees payable by students at universities could be seen as the catalyst needed to revive industrial training and technical college short courses, leading to more interest in accredited professional qualifications. Technical college courses disappeared when the whole educational establishment was upgraded to degree status some years ago. However, with students now facing fees of GB £6000 to £9000 over three years to attend these courses, industry-based training is set for revival. — Nick Denbow, Industrial Automation Insider