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Chris Winder

Back in 2014, when I moved from Watford to Rochester to start a three-year Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacturing with BAe Systems, I didn’t realise my new role would also open up greater opportunities through the IET.

As part of the Apprenticeship, I was given the opportunity to sign up for the IET. I went along to a Kent IET Local Network meeting in February 2015 and ended up joining the committee as a YP volunteer.

In June 2016 I attended the YPs Community Volunteers Conference in London, which opened up my eyes to the sort of YP networks that were possible. I heard some incredible stories from YP volunteers around the world. At the event, the IET’s Young Professionals Engagement Manager invited me to join the IET’s Young Professionals Committee (YPC) as its first-ever representative for apprentices and technicians.

Soon after joining the YPC I got involved in helping the IET to revamp its apprenticeship communications materials – the new apprentice brochure looked great. It was very motivating to see that I’d actually been able to make a difference.

I completed my apprenticeship in August 2017. The following month I took up a full-time Outstations Technician role with Siemens, where every day I’m able to apply the communications and influencing skills that I’ve gained through IET volunteering.

I’m now in my second year as an elected YPC representative. I’m also a Young Professionals Ambassador (YPA), which is a new IET role that I (along with many others) helped to create. There are already more than 60 YPAs around the world and we represent the IET, especially its YP members.

I’m now studying with the Open University for an Integrated Master’s Degree in Engineering, which will take me eight years to complete. I was very pleased to receive the IET Engineering Horizons Bursary (now the IET Future Talent Awards) – it’s worth up to £4,000, so is well worth applying for!

The IET can never have enough volunteers, so you’ll always find opportunities to contribute to the IET and the wider engineering world if you go looking for them. I’ve definitely found that the more work I put into the YPC and the IET, the more I get back from it; I’ve developed more by doing more.

My advice to a young professional interested in IET volunteering would be to start off by joining your Local or Technical Network or On-Campus group. Go along to their events, to find out more about the IET and how you can get involved and help support them. And from that point, the route you choose is entirely up to you!

Interested in volunteering with your Local Network or On-Campus? 

Take a look at the Communities role descriptions and find a network near you.