LONDON - End-of-year registration statistics issued by the Engineering Council show a significant increase in the number of practicing engineers recognizing the value of gaining professional qualifications.

During 2009, the number of new registrations for chartered engineer (CEng) was 9% higher than in 2008, while new incorporated engineer (IEng) registrations have grown by 10%. In addition, there has been a net increase in the total number of engineering technician (EngTech) registrants for the fifth consecutive year.

Andrew Ramsay, the Engineering Council's chief executive, says, "We've noticed a surge in enquiries about registration over the past year and are pleased that our figures show how many of these have been successfully registered. No doubt the results are in part due to the competitive job market, as well as industry recognition of both the added status and the importance of being professionally qualified.

"We have invested in spreading the word about how professional registration improves job security and career prospects and is open to any competent practicing engineer, with different pathways available."

The rise in women engineers achieving chartered status has continued too, with women accounting for more than 11% of total new registrants for the third year running (12.4% in 2009; 11.6% in 2008; 11.4% in 2007). There has also been steady growth in the number of new female EngTechs for 2009.

A new section of the register, for information and communications technology technicians (ICTTech), was opened at the beginning of 2009. So far 21 registrants have successfully completed the process, with many more following in their footsteps.

Despite the healthy increases in new registrations, the overall register declined by 1.7%. However, the average age of chartered engineers leaving the register was over 62, and the decline generally reflects an aging population reaching retirement.

Ramsay concludes, "We are confident that new registration numbers will continue to rise throughout 2010, and are working closely with the professional engineering institutions to ensure that applicants receive the necessary assistance with completing the registration process."