Information for those providing guidance or support to candidates working toward professional registration as a line manager, supporter or informal mentor.
How much support you are willing or able to provide will depend on your role. If you are acting as a line manager then you may be asked to sign off an application or provide additional support such as access to opportunities or mentors.
Before agreeing to support a candidate, be realistic with them both about the support that you are able to provide and also about the development required and opportunities available to them. It may be that you can provide guidance and support but are not able to create opportunities for individual candidates.
Most professional development can fit in around the daily tasks and responsibilities of a job role and candidates will benefit most from engineering knowledge gained in the context of their workplace.
There is an obvious need to balance development activities and work tasks and candidates, especially new graduates, may need guidance on finding that balance. Professional Registration requires a number of skills areas and a balance is needed on technical knowledge acquisition and developing communication and management skills. An excess in one area cannot make up for a lack of exposure in another (although it is recognised that no engineer will be an expert in every area and there is likely to be some areas of strength across the range of skills).
New graduates or recent recruits will have a steep learning curve in understanding how they fit in to the wider workplace context and how their role relates to the rest of the organisation and the industry sector as a whole. IET Advantage is a membership programme for early career engineers which provides a goal-oriented approach to help members make the most of their membership as they work toward professional registration.
Assigning new graduates a buddy who has recently been through this themselves will help them to assimilate. In the first years of work, candidates will need to learn a lot in a short space of time, if you can ensure that they do this in a structured way it will help them to maintain a balance and hopefully keep them on track if they lose momentum.
If possible, consider new opportunities for those that you are supporting and have them in mind when new tasks and projects arise.
Whilst it may not always be possible to create all of the experiences that your candidate will require, secondments or project management opportunities may become available and in considering selection of these it can be useful to consider which competence areas they may each fulfil. One opportunity may contribute toward a number of competences. If you are not directly responsible for assigning or generating projects it may be worth meeting with the candidate and their line manager to explore possible development or encourage the candidate to have these discussions with their line manager.
Candidates do not only gain knowledge and experience in the workplace, they can also gain useful experience in other ways, such as:
In all aspects of development, it is important that candidates keep a record of the development that they are undertaking. In order to do this the IET offer members access to an online development system, Career Manager, which allows members to record their evidence of competence against the professional registration frameworks, and also to undertake action planning and objective setting.
As someone supporting candidates it may be useful to understand how candidates can send guest tickets for you to look at their records in the system and ask you to verify or validate their information using Career Manager. Alternatively you may want to ask the candidate to take you through the process they follow when using Career Manager or when completing their development paperwork so you are able to support them.
It is important that these records are regularly updated and reviewed - you can offer perspective on the development and next steps that a candidate may want to take. This feedback can either by from your own experience or from your knowledge of the professional registration requirements and the type of work that is undertaken by other professionally registered engineers.