Promoting professional registration in China

28 November 2011
Andy Watson CEng FIET is currently a lecturer at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

He may have moved half way across the world from the UK to China, but that hasn't stopped active member Andy Watson from continuing to promote professional registration and support IET student members.

Andy Watson CEng FIET is currently lecturing at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), which offers students a joint programme with Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL).

His career has been varied, working first in medical physics, then as an industrial control engineer before moving into the education realm, but he’s also always been active in the ‘professional institution business’. Originally based in Scotland he was until recently an IET Scotland South West Local Network (LN) member and past chair. It was back in the 90s that he became actively involved in professional registration and academic accreditation with the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Incorporated Engineers (IEEIE), which later became the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and eventually merged with the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) to become the IET.

Along the way he has worked on regional and national committees all focused on improving academic and professional standards for the industry, and he believes that this work indirectly led to his current role.

“This work may have indirectly resulted in the job I have now,” he says. “Alongside work I’ve done for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) as an external verifier – they have some programmes running in Chinese universities – I’ve also worked closely with the IET as a member of the China working party. This involved discussions with Chinese engineering societies and interviewing Chinese engineers for registration. A combination of this and teaching for many years resulted in my being successful when I applied for the post at QMUL.”

Sharing his experience

Now settled into his role and well known as a member of the Beijing LN, Watson has been sharing his experience with students and professionals in the region.

For example he is heavily involved with the region’s young professionals as he’s the student advisor at BUPT, organising IET-sponsored student competitions and judging the region’s Present Around the World competition. But his work doesn’t end there: Watson’s been working closely with IET Beijing’s membership and Local Network executive Jenny Li, helping to conduct professional registration interviews, address IET sponsored conferences and advising staff delivering training on registration standards and procedures.

IET Beijing office

“Andy has helped a lot in the development of the IET Beijing office, contributing his professional experience and passion for professional registration,” enthuses Li.

“He uses his professional experience to help members [at different levels of their career] and encourages them to take the next step. He’s a pleasure to work with, always trying his best to help the IET with anything he can and is a valued volunteer. Active and full of enthusiasm, his passion for promoting the IET in China [has been hugely appreciated] and all the staff in the Beijing office love working with him. I believe he has done a lot to increase IET brand awareness in China.”

Building relationships

Not only has Watson physically helped the Beijing LN with events etc., he has also helped the local office to build a stronger relationship with staff in the UK. As he was active in the UK and already had close ties with IET staff in departments such as registration and accreditation, he was able to get the offices to liaise closely and in turn put on stronger events and provide the best information to members in the region.

“Because I have been active for a long time I can link the Beijing staff to the UK specialists,” he says. “[We liaised closely with] senior registration coordinator Karen Fox on Professional Registration Interviews (PRIs) in China, accreditation and awards manager Dan Canty on accreditation advice and workshops, and IET registration and standards manager Mike Bridgefoot, on Professional Registration workshops and advice.”

“He has really helped communication between the Beijing office and our UK colleagues,” notes Li. “This has improved the transfer of information and helped us gain their experience in how to arrange events etc.”

There may not be figures that show IET awareness or an increase in memberships figures as a result of Watson’s participation in regional activities, but Li and her colleagues are not alone in praising the efforts he has made, as feedback across the board has shown that things are heading in the right direction.

“I’m gratified with the positive comments on my work from IET staff, students and universities,” says Watson. “My hope is that in the long run all the things we want to see, such as increased numbers, will happen, but it’s a long road,” he concludes.

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