Morgan David is Divisional Director, R&D at Sony Europe Ltd and Chair of the Design and Production Sector. Here he discusses why he chooses to volunteer for the IET.
I suspect that many reading this have throughout their careers wondered why engineers still do not enjoy the same standing as other professions. To be honest, over the years that I have been a member of the IET it is hard to see that the situation has changed much despite valiant efforts by some very capable people. So, 150,000 engineers continue to renew their membership each year because the IET gives them the best professional identity available even though it may lack the social recognition of architects and doctors for example. The building of an architect’s creative vision for generations to enjoy, the critical intervention by a doctor that saves a life, these are self-evident expectations, encapsulated in the professional title and widely understood in society. That positive social idea is not yet formed around the concept of a professional engineer and I believe this is an essential process that we have to follow to achieve appropriate recognition. This will take time but it is really worth doing. I am proud to work with engineers who are as a breed naturally inclined to be useful and productive but it saddens me that we do not appeal on this basis to younger generations who struggle to identify careers that contribute positively to their world.
Today the IET recognises much better the importance of how its members and society at large perceive the role of professional engineers and with the Sectors we have the chance to pick out socially relevant topics and talk about them from a broad engineering perspective. As you will see elsewhere, we are now focussing on sustainability and the application of new technologies to agriculture. We are also looking closely at the issues surrounding the design of products and systems to enhance independent living for old and young alike. These are socially important topics where professional engineers are taking a lead but we need to get better at telling the world about it. To me that seems an interesting, achievable task worth volunteering for.