An outline of the IET's charitable work.
The IET’s overall purpose is to promote the general advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on these subjects amongst its members and the general public.
The IET achieves this by realising its vision: leading the development of an international engineering and technology community, sharing and advancing knowledge to enhance people’s lives.
There are three broad sets of activities the IET undertakes to achieve its public benefit purposes: education, policy and awareness; knowledge-sharing; and membership and professional development activities.
When it comes to enthusing the next generation about SET, IET Faraday is an award winning educational resource that reaches all UK schools. Then there’s Flipside, a SET magazine for teenagers, the only publication of its type. It’s distributed free of charge to UK secondary schools to encourage interest in STEM.
Key programmes that form the focus of the IET's schools work include Faraday Challenge Days, Tomorrow's Engineers, The FIRST LEGO League, and the STEM Ambassador Programme.
“I have been an IET member for over ten years and have seen a gradual shift in its efforts towards young people’s programmes and the wider STEM agenda,” notes IET schools liaison officer Kevin Burke. “Working with partners, providers and school communities, it is now gaining a great reputation at grass-roots level; and members within the Local Networks are fantastic supporters. The IET appears to have a very open and proactive response to its education programmes and is obviously very committed to supporting young people.”
As part of its charitable work, the IET offers a number of scholarships, grants and prizes to celebrate success, assist young engineers and technicians in their careers and recognise outstanding achievements. This year’s prize fund will be over £500,000.
“The Awards and Prizes team works with volunteers, sponsors and colleagues across the organisation to develop the IET's scholarships, awards and prizes portfolio,” highlights Linda Deleay, awards and prizes manager.
“We have launched a new scholarships programme aimed at those embarking upon an IET accredited UK degree course in 2013,” she continues. “The Diamond Jubilee Scholarships are named in honour of the IET’s patron, Her Majesty the Queen, and aim to help address the UK STEM skills shortage. Everyone who meets the minimum criteria will receive a scholarship of £1,000 per year for the duration of their degree course.”
A huge amount of effort goes into the IET’s knowledge sharing work, which includes lectures, journals, the Inspec database and local events.
Up to 16 Prestige Lectures are hosted each year, including four in India, which are free to attend and watch on IET.tv, with an objective to share knowledge globally to all.
The IET also provides academic researchers in poorer countries access to its knowledge services at greatly reduced fees through its association with the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications.
The IET has also launched an 'open access' journal allowing scientifically significant papers to be accessed free of charge globally, and produces fact files and briefings available to the general public on a range of topical areas.
Thousands of IET volunteers play a critical role in delivering many of the IET’s key outcomes, including assessing applicants for professional registration, ensuring that standards are upheld, giving their time to encourage students to engage in SET, providing expert advice to government and delivering interesting events around the world.
Involved in the management, organisation and delivery of activities, they work with IET departments and also within their own communities.
“These groups operate around the world and put on annual programmes of activity that contribute directly to the IET’s charitable remit,” highlights James McLoughlin, head of knowledge management marketing.
“So far in 2012 the Local Networks and Technical and Professional Networks have delivered over 1,100 events and attracted over 66,730 delegates with a year-end target of 78,000 delegates. Communities also contribute to online content that is accessed by thousands more people all over the world. The IET could not achieve its charitable remit without them,” he enthuses.
The life-blood of the IET is the membership. Members and volunteers of the IET are spread around the world, in around 127 countries.
“The IET has a very impressive breadth and depth of members, making us one of the world’s leading multi-discipline engineering societies," says Mark Organ, IET head of membership. "We pride ourselves on the fact that we support an incredible range of people right through their careers – from student days through to retirement.”
Whatever the need, the IET is there to help people make the most of their career, from mentor schemes, through to professional registration and an array of opportunities to give something back for more senior professionals.
Being a Professional Home for Life is not just an aspiration for the IET, it is a reality.