|'Men of brain and brawn and guts': The professionalization of Marine Engineering in Britain and Germany, 1830 - Present|
|This paper explores the universal concept of professionalism. Occupations achieving professional status exhibit a number of common and defining characteristics, but how does an occupation attain a professional status?
The paper will address the case of the sea-going Marine Engineer, or Schiffsingenieure in commercial shipping in Britain and Germany, from around 1830 to the present. The paper will assess the development of this group from occupation, to profession. Essentially it will aim to identify the process through which the Sea-going engine keeper became the Marine Engineer in Britain, and the Schiffsmaschinisten became the Schiffsingenieure in Germany, by assessing the key driving forces behind the process of professionalization.
Firstly the paper will examine the advance of both propulsive and auxiliary plant under the charge of the engineer at sea. As the initial catalyst in the professionalization of marine engineering, the paper will explore the rate of application, expansion and diversification of this technology by companies such as Cunard and P&O in Britain, and Norddeutscher Lloyd and Hapag in Germany. The paper will then investigate the developments in education and training for these engineers at sea, and the subsequent licensing imposed upon the industry via which Certificates of Competency and Prüfungen der Maschinisten were introduced. Finally, the paper will examine the development and importance of institutional representation by professional societies, looking in detail at the formation, constitutions and roles of the Institute of Marine Engineers (IMarE) and the later Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) in Britain, and the Verband Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) its marine branch the Verband Deutscher Schiffsingenieure (VDSI) in Germany.
The paper will put forward the idea that these factors upon which professionalization rests, occur in succession and are interdependent. It will therefore assert that professionalization is a process, and that the transition from occupation to mature profession takes significant time.
Finally, the paper will consider the products of professionalization, including the creation of professional identity, and the perception of professional engineers in wider society.
The paper essentially aims to explore the process of professionalization in action. The case of Marine Engineering provides a useful illustration of the process many other technological occupations embarked upon after the industrial revolution, the rise of professionalism being a widespread Nineteenth Century phenomenon.