I have written before about the importance to the Institution of volunteering and of the variety of ways that we can support our profession – whether it is writing articles for ICE journals, joining the local committee, giving a presentation, supporting a school careers fair or mentoring a fellow engineer.
There are many ways to help. However, why should you and what is in it for you?
I have volunteered for the ICE for longer than I care to think about, but got into it because I thought it might help further my career. And the thing is – it did. I organised evening meetings for my local association and this meant I had a good reason to talk to some of the most senior people in my workplace.
It seemed they were impressed by my enthusiasm for the profession and opportunities opened up for me. The challenge of doing something a little bit different to the stuff I was doing at work also helped to make me a better employee. I got the opportunity to hone my presentation skills, chair meetings – it boosted my confidence and helped to prepare me for some of the workplace situations that I have faced in my career.
Meeting and motivating the next generation is a great way to give something back to society. I have worked in schools where children do not hear about the diversity on offer in the world of work, and don’t really understand their place within it. Meeting an enthusiastic engineer does help many pupils understand that they can have a meaningful career. Meeting working engineers also helps to raise aspirations. Many of us got into our careers because we knew an engineer or had parents who were engineers. This isn’t the case for everyone, and so telling children about your career at the very least informs them about some of the alternatives to the work that their family members or family friends might do. And helping others is a lovely way to spend your day.
Finally, one thing that really helps to keep me engaged with the volunteering activities of the ICE is that it can be very enjoyable. I have recently spent a few days travelling around my region to visit all the entrants to our annual awards. This is a highlight of my year and while it is a bit of a commitment, it is hugely rewarding, informative and fun. You get to spend your day with lots of engineers who talk about their projects enthusiastically and are proud of what they have achieved.
There are many different types of volunteering activities available at ICE and you can get as much out of them as others receive from your commitment to them. If you would like to help the Institution and promote civil engineering, we would love to hear from you – we just need some details about you and the areas you are interested in.
- To register your interest click here
- Glen Owen is ICE East of England Director