A blog from Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive and Secretary, August 2021

I am proud of the engineers and technicians who have devoted their time and energy to developing a range of innovative solutions as part of the global response to the pandemic. Their contribution has been remarkable.

However, it is clear that the pandemic will be with us for some time, and we will keep following the latest advice to make sure our members, volunteers and staff stay safe. We will continue to do whatever we can to provide support, especially to those who have been most affected.

We should not underestimate the importance of maintaining good mental health and wellbeing during this time. If you need some extra help, you can get in touch with Foothold, our benevolent fund.

Foothold’s expert advisers have been supporting engineers and their families since 1890, so you will be in safe hands. The Foothold helpline is available to IET members and their families from 9am to 5pm (UK time), Monday to Friday – visit Foothold to find out more.

Whatever life throws our way, it is important to focus on the positives. And there have been many in the past few months with our 150th-anniversary celebrations including The 150 Show, which was broadcast live from Savoy Place during our anniversary week in May.

Our President, Danielle George, and mathematician, writer and teacher Bobby Seagull did an outstanding job of hosting the show. It celebrated the incredible achievements of engineers and technicians during the last 150 years while also shining a light on the engineering difference-makers of today.

I was delighted to appear in the first episode, where I explained our vision and mission, as well as our role in facilitating connections and collaborations between engineers and technicians around the world.

This five-part series showcased the wonders of engineering and technology to a global audience in a highly entertaining way. You can still access it on-demand via YouTube and IET.tv (tv.theiet.org) – it is well worth watching and I can assure you that there is something for everyone!

Our international presence grows increasingly stronger. Earlier this year, our China office collaborated with Westlake University, Hangzhou, to create a series of anniversary lectures: the Westlake-IET@150 Talks. The first lecture took place in April – as the first physical event in 16 months, this was a landmark moment for our local team.

Although I could not physically join the 23rd Annual Meeting of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), I was delighted to be able to deliver the welcome speech through a recorded message.

We are proud to co-organise this fantastic event that brings together key leaders from the STEM community. More than 200 people were able to attend the physical event and we reached more than 11 million people globally, via various streaming platforms.

Over the past few months, we have held special, regional events and virtual EngTalks to mark our 150th anniversary around the world in locations including Brunei, Hong Kong, and India, with further Local Network events planned in other areas.

In July, I had the pleasure of joining IET President, Danielle George, and our India Country-Head Shekhar Sanyal, for a ‘live’ fireside chat before joining a very special EngTalk which more than 1300 people registered for from 50 countries.

The event was attended live by over 500 delegates and it is available to stream on our social media channels. We discussed the importance of our global presence and how we will implement our IET Strategy 2030 on an international scale. This was also a great opportunity to look back at our 150th celebrations and how we have used technology to deliver exciting events around the world during the pandemic.

As part of our Engineer a Better World campaign, we ran our first online Engineering Open House Day on 23 July with the aim of giving young people the chance to discover what it is like to work as an engineer or technician.

During the day we hosted a live magazine show on YouTube from Savoy Place with events designed to capture the interest of young people, including an exciting blend of experiments, fascinating guest speakers and fun facts.

We are sharing the content on our social media channels and on our Open House Days website, so if you are looking for something to keep the young people in your life entertained before they head back to school, I would definitely recommend watching.

Throughout the year, one of our key areas of focus has been on sustainability and climate change and something I am very proud of is the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ approach that we are applying to the refurbishment of our main operational centre, Michael Faraday House, in the UK.

We have set ourselves the ambitious target of achieving net-zero across the IET by 2030, so this extensive refurbishment programme gives us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and lead by example.

We are on the way towards Investors in the Environment accreditation. This national UK scheme is designed to help us focus our efforts on improving our sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment which we hope to adopt globally.

I would like to close by updating you on the services currently available at Savoy Place. We are now fully open for conference and events business and our sales team are available to answer any queries you may have.

The Faraday Centre is currently open to a maximum of 30 members at a time. While coffee and tea are available, the Faraday Kitchen which normally serves food remains closed.

The Faraday Centre and Knowledge Centre are open from Tuesday to Thursday between 10am until 3pm. Each member can host one visitor in the Faraday Centre for two hours and there is no need to book beforehand. 

We launched a click and collect service for books at our Savoy Place Knowledge Centre and it is also now open during these times for study. Members and researchers can book a two-hour slot to consult our reference collections (including the IET Archives).

There is a maximum capacity of nine people in the Knowledge Centre. We will update our operational plans again in October.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you and your loved ones, continue to stay safe and well.

Best regards / Nigel