Happy New Year from the IET

9 January 2014
By Barry Brooks, IET president
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IET president Barry Brooks

IET president Barry Brooks.

A message from the IET president.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank IET members for your loyalty to the Institution, especially those who volunteer so much of their time and energy to support our activities around the world.

 

Meeting members and staff in 2013

During my first three months in office, I have visited and spoken to many staff and members across the UK and beyond, including in Kuala Lumpur at the Asia Pacific Volunteer Conference. I have presented and discussed our successes and aspirations at conferences, seminars, dinners and working groups with other Institutions, companies and universities. On every occasion, I have received a warm welcome, enthusiasm, and offers to help.

 

Volunteering in 2014 – inspiring the next generation

Volunteers are essential to the IET. We already benefit from over 4,100 volunteers who contribute their time and enthusiasm in many different ways - from mentoring, peer reviewing papers, organising conferences, developing expert advice for governments on policy, to trustees chairing boards - all helping to achieve our IET Vision by working together to engineer a better world. If more members could give some of their time, we could achieve a lot more across all that we do, and this is my principal theme for my presidential year. For example, we have 9,000 Fellows who have enormous experience from their careers and who, by sharing those experiences, provide role models to inspire others.

We also need more volunteers to help us inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians, for example by becoming STEM Ambassadors in the UK or by connecting with groups and organisations that work with schools and universities to promote a career in engineering.

Our Volunteer Talent Support project has provided the framework within which volunteers can be recruited, trained, and supported - and recognised for their contribution to the IET’s success. This framework will enable more Young Professionals to become active in our communities and to develop their abilities to stand for election to boards and committees as part of the IET’s governance. In 2013, we issued the first IET Volunteer Handbook and held a Volunteer Induction Day at the IET’s Michael Faraday House in Stevenage, with members and staff working together as part of our 'one-team' approach.

 

Influencing policy

We are making good progress in raising the IET’s profile and increasing our influence and impact - an important part of our Mission. During 2013 we continued to make a major contribution to the UK government’s awareness of the need to take action, shared with industry, academia and schools, to encourage more young people to take up careers in engineering and technology. The Perkins Review, published by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), supported by the IET and other Professional Engineering Institutions, sets out what needs to be done. The IET will play a full part in the implementation of the action plans, and members can help - hence the call for more STEM Ambassadors.   

 

Temporary co-location with IMechE

An important development for the IET in 2013 was our temporary co-location with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) at One Birdcage Walk, Westminster. In July, IET London: Savoy Place closed for a two-year refurbishment programme to transform it into a 21st Century engineering and technology hub for both members and the public. During this work, we have been made welcome by IMechE to share their building and members are invited to make use of the facilities at One Birdcage Walk. The opportunity is also being taken, agreed by the IET and IMechE Boards of Trustees, to look for more ways in which our two Institutions can collaborate, and I hope to see more ideas about this in 2014.

 

New Year’s Honours

Finally, I’d like to mention some of those recognised in the UK 2014 New Year’s Honours who have connections with the IET. Congratulations to Sir Peter Luff MP on his knighthood. Sir Peter has supported the IET in our efforts to encourage more young people to consider careers in engineering. We would also like to congratulate IET Fellow Hamid Mughal on his MBE for services to technology, innovation and manufacturing and Prof Celia Hoyles who becomes a Dame for services to education and also sits on the IET Education and Skills Policy Panel. I'd also like to congratulate Mr Christopher Mairs CBE FREng, a former Turing Lecturer, for his CBE for services to engineering.

We would also like to congratulate IET member and 2010 winner of the Oliver Lodge Medal Prof Erol Gelenbe on receiving the prestigious 'In Memoriam Dennis Gabor Award' for outstanding research with important impact in innovation.

 

In closing, I wish all members around the world a happy and successful New Year and I look forward to meeting many more of you during 2014.

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