When it comes to the IET’s professional registration process volunteers are key, as Glenn Atkins, IET Business Operations Manager – Registrations and Standards, highlights.
The professional registration process is a peer review, which means that the IET volunteers involved – all of whom are professionally registered engineers – are key to the IET being able to recommend new candidates for professional registration.
“For every candidate applying for registration, their application will be seen by at least ten volunteers,” Glenn explains. “IET staff input the data and coordinate resources, but decisions and feedback are all generated by the volunteers.”
Clearly the success of this process is down to a successful ‘one team’ approach from staff and members. Together they have built a strong collaborative working environment, which entails two-way feedback on what does and doesn’t work.
“Volunteers are treated as members of the IET team, always receive a warm welcome and are provided regular training and interaction with staff,” Glenn notes.
The IET also knows it is important to thank volunteers for the time they give up to work alongside staff, so provides regular ‘thank yous’.
For example, the IET holds an annual registration and standards conference and for the last two years this has been hosted by volunteer Ian Belger, a Chief Electrical Engineer at Sellafield.
Ian devotes a lot of his time to supporting the IET so Registration Support Manager Lou Parfrey wrote to Ian’s employers to both acknowledge the work Ian does for us but also to thank them for allowing Ian the time to do it. They then awarded him with the Employee of Excellence Award for his commitment to the development of engineers.
There are many success stories to share off the back of this one team approach to professional registration, with regular working parties seeing staff working in collaboration with volunteers to improve processes such as routes to registration and technician registration.
One of the biggest successes has to be a project that began as a form review and turned into a full review of the fellowship application process!
“Kel Fidler, FIET, volunteered over coffee to review the Fellowship application form, this then evolved into a total review of the Fellowship process,” says Glenn. “Over one hundred Fellows were surveyed, with a high response rate of 91 per cent. Of those a further 97 per cent attended a process review meeting and now changes have been provisionally approved and the new process should have full approval by the end of July,” he enthuses.
The one approach has also proved successful under time constraints.
“The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) wanted over 30 engineers professionally registered for an event being held on the 11 June. We were working to a very tight deadline but through working as one team with the Regional Development Manager Dan Sanders, Registration Team Manager’s Mandy Farenden & Karen Fox, volunteers, the Fellowship Manager Pat Dinner, the Registration & Standards Support Unit and of course the registration team, we managed to successfully register all in time.
“Culham invited all those involved from the IET to the presentation evening to thank us for our support, especially the volunteers. They also awarded us with a plaque acknowledging our work, which is now proudly displayed in our reception area,” says Glenn.
The fact that this approach works so well means all parties involved benefit, as Glenn highlights.
“The many candidates who have benefited from the advice of our volunteers to become professionally registered, the staff interacting with knowledgeable and interesting individuals and of course the IET as the volunteers are a wealth of knowledge and experience which they are happy to share to improve the institution for all. Not everyone has the opportunity to sit and talk to individuals who have changed the world we live in,” he concludes.