When an attempt was made around 15 years ago to bring IMechE into the IET, its members who chose to vote rejected that proposition. So the answer about whether people want to be part of something smaller and more homogenous, or free to choose from a patchwork of identities under an overarching set of common structures and values, is mostly one of the heart. The practical question of the head, is what can be achieved, with what resources. Engineering institutions that can’t offer a good value for money proposition, will fail for financial reasons. The IET “took in” those made homeless by just such a situation recently.
If the question is about skills, then which “skills” or attributes are we talking about? Just those of Chartered Engineers, or others who feel unable to gain such recognition or don’t find it sufficiently attractive to bother.
I agree with the general thrust of the argument in the article, but it isn’t as simple a just headlines about technology , “industry 4.0” and other trendy “flavour of the month” slogans. For example, I was offered a job in Nuclear Fusion 35+ years ago and told that we would harness the “limitless power of this technology” within 30 years. Perhaps we eventually will? It seems to me that we will also need successive generations of engineers who will use similar, albeit steadily evolving skills, to those which engineers have exercised at least since Victorian times if not earlier. That would include quite a lot of Mechanical and Civil Engineering. Computing and information technologies have been in a period of rapid evolution, but there are many emerging priority issues that they can’t resolve. I can’t drink my latest gadget when I’m thirsty, or use it to keep warm, or for transport!
"As The Engineer has frequently noted, the role of the engineer is changing. The age of being able to quietly get on with things in your own silo are vanishing fast, and the ways in which industry and the engineering education landscape adapt to this challenge will perhaps shape industry more than any other factor in the year ahead."