To help you run a successful community, we have put together some suggestions for what you could be doing. We also provide information on the bespoke IET tools and resources that could help you to achieve success.
Most of the activities run by IET communities are events and meetings. This is because getting people together in a room is a great way to start and maintain a healthy community of people. You have a number of different options depending on your particular objectives.
Increasing public awareness: You could be exciting non-engineers about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and encouraging young people to enter the engineering professions. You could run general interest lectures, hot topic events, public debates or question-time events on STEM subjects. School events and science fairs can also be useful but please be aware that in the UK, schools events must be funded via the Education 5-19 team.
Disseminating technical content: These activities feature significant technical content likely to be of interest of those with specialist knowledge. You could choose to run events such as conferences and seminars on subjects designed to keep engineers informed of the latest developments in areas of engineering or technical visits as well as workshops and panel discussions.
Enabling networking and professional development: You could be offering professional development opportunities for local engineers and students. Examples include Fresher’s and Graduation events in universities and colleges, Lifeskills workshops, holding a Present Around the World Competition or getting involved in the Global Challenge. You could also hold membership recruitment events and Professional Registration events.
Resources and guides to help run successful events:
Running a successful engineering community does not just have to be about holding events and physical meetings. You have many other options to service a healthy engineering community.
Disseminating engineering/technical content: Sometimes the easiest way of disseminating technical content is to film an event that has a high degree of technical content. The IET has its own filming crew - IET.tv that can film talks as well as interview speakers. If you feel your event would justify being filmed professionally please let your staff support know.
Supporting the IET/RedR Global Challenge: The Global Challenge aims to encourage Young Professionals across the globe to address a real world engineering challenge with their diverse academic and technical exposure. The Challenge focuses on the technical feasibility, efficiency and innovation of the proposed solution as well as challenge the marketing skills of participants. You can help promote this challenge with Young Professionals who are in contact with your network.
Engaging with universities: Working closely with local universities can be an excellent activity for Local Networks. By building strong links you have access to students who could help you run activities and even use the university as a venue. Learn more about the IET’s On Campus approach to working with universities.
Local Networks in the UK can also create stronger links with universities by connecting with the IET Diamond Jubilee Scholars. Read our case study on what this means and how you can utilise them more effectively.
Sponsoring a prize: Where universities or colleges do not have IET accredited programmes Local Networks can offer an IET Local Network Prize to reward excellence in students. The prize winner should be nominated on the official form (please request this from your staff support) by the academic establishment on the basis of having achieved excellence on a course that falls within the IET’s scope of interest. No restriction regarding age, sex or nationality should be made. The value of the award must be £250 or an amount with an equivalent purchasing power in other countries. Only one award should be offered per establishment even where there are a number of different departments specialising in different areas of engineering and technology.
Each IET community is able to have an online presence and you can use this to connect to engineers and technicians from all over the world. Using the IET’s own social networking platform – Engineering Communities - as well as other social media tools like Twitter and LinkedIn will help you to engage with new audiences before, during and after your activities.
Successful communities rely on volunteer input. Where committees have relied on the same members to run communities for a number of years, this can result in volunteer disillusionment so it’s important that you have plans in place to relieve existing volunteers.
Please refer to our Managing Money page.