There have been many technological innovations and advances that have changed how we live and work all for the better since I joined the IET. This was never more obvious than during the recent Covid Pandemic when engineers and technicians were needed to provide virtual connectivity, mechanical ventilators, and support the mass production of vaccines.
Engineering has become far more multidisciplinary. Previously, there was the notion that you only worked a single branch of engineering at one time. Now, an engineer or technician must have the understanding and ability to deliver a broader set of engineering skills.
Digital advances have played a significant role in these changes, and offer opportunities for processes, and tasks to be completed more efficiently. The increase of digital technologies have been transformational for engineers and technicians and has forced us to rethink how the IET adapts to make sure we are continually providing engineers and technicians with the skills and information they need.
An area where I have seen positive steps taken is in improving equality, diversity and inclusion. We know that the engineering and technology profession is not as inclusive and diverse as it can and should be, but we are moving in the right direction – both within the profession and the IET. It is work in progress and there is plenty more that must be done to inspire the next generation and ensure that more people from all backgrounds join the profession and meet the growing demand for people with STEM skills.
Our 150th-anniversary celebrations last year gave us an opportunity to celebrate our past and to think about our future. The IET Strategy 2030 provides good foundations on how we will continue to be relevant during the next decade and beyond. The milestone also gave us an opportunity to advance our efforts to show young people that engineering can be the career for them and that our profession is at the heart of solving many of the world’s biggest challenges.
In my last few weeks, I have continued to see first-hand how the IET inspires the next generation through our IET FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge, which helps nine to 16-year-olds develop skills for future careers, including coding, design and research. And there is also much work going on behind the scenes to urge the UK Government to embed an understanding of engineering into the school curriculum with our #EngineeringKidsFutures campaign. This work is not confined to just the UK. We are also supporting industry and policymakers in the Middle East to offer more experiential STEM learning to young children in the classroom.
As Chief Executive, I have been the custodian of our fantastic Institution, responsible for protecting it and making changes so that it is fit for the future and remains relevant to the needs of our members and society. As my tenure draws to an end, it is time for others to lead this journey. While the recruitment of a new Chief Executive and Secretary continues, I know the IET is in good hands as Ed Almond, our Finance and Planning Director, takes over as interim Chief Executive and he will be well supported by the Executive Team and Trustees.
While I will be stepping down, (I am not sure you can ever really leave the IET!), I will remain an IET Fellow and continue to look forward to reading our E&T magazine, Member News updates and popping into Savoy Place when I am in Central London to see old friends and attend events.
I would like to end this blog in the same way I have finished many of my recent editions. Please continue to stay safe as Covid numbers across the world continue to fluctuate – help and support are available through our benevolent fund, Foothold. The IET is a global family and families need to look out for each other.
Thank you for all your support and friendship.
All best wishes / Nigel
Chief Executive and Secretary