Swindon’s online success story

22 April 2014
By Keri Allan
Members of the Swindon Local Network

Members of the Swindon Local Network at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

A look at the growth of the IET Swindon Local Network.

The IET Swindon Local Network (LN) has grown to become one of the most active in the UK, thanks in part to MyCommunity bringing fresh blood into the committee.

The Swindon LN is based in a non-university town covering a relatively small area, but currently has in the region of 1,500 members. A long-standing network, it was originally set up back in the late 1960s by engineers Ken Sherwin and Derek Bateman. The latter may be one of the longest serving IET committee members as Derek continues to be an active committee member even in his mid-eighties, acting as an IET Connect representative and a professional registration advisor (PRA).

Historically Swindon is known for high quality presenters and good attendance figures; however, it was very dependent on a small number of committee members, many of whom were retired or long serving. The network believes that it was the arrival of networking tool MyCommunity that really brought an influx of fresh blood into the committee, enabling the LN to make great progress with its website, event planning and publicity.

The network is doing a lot to promote STEM careers and engineering in general to the community’s school pupils. This work has included supporting IET DIY Faraday Challenge Day training sessions across the region and running a stand at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The network has also successfully partnered with Swindon’s first University Technical College (UTC), recently hosting a BBC Question Time format event entitled What does the new University Technical College offer Swindon?.

Now pumped up and eager to spread the word, its committee members are focused on becoming the best network possible.

“We want the Swindon LN to be the number one in the UK,” says Mubbisher Ahmed, the network’s Publicity Officer.

“We have a responsibility to enthuse the next generation of engineers and that is the driving force behind everything that we do.”

“An advantage we’ve found with MyCommunity is its ability to feed through both our Twitter and Facebook pages, thereby allowing members an easy way to see everything in one place.

“In addition to making posts relevant to the whole engineering community, we try and generate content and start discussions that are particularly relevant to the Swindon area. For instance, this is achieved by monitoring the local press and Swindon-focused websites,” he adds.

The Swindon LN has lots of plans already in place for 2014, all of which are aimed at attracting more engineers into the community and working closely with schools to promote engineering. It is also experimenting with new ways to reach members, which includes filming more events to show on IET.tv.

You can find out more about the IET Swindon Local Network on MyCommunity.

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