With the welcome return of spring and lighter evenings, a pause for thought for those entering exam season, which sees thousands at schools, colleges and universities preparing for this critical milestone before moving onto the next phase in their development.
Similarly, and crucially for our industry, record numbers of engineers and technicians are also undertaking their Professional Review.
For most, the Professional Review represents the culmination of years of education, training, professional development and preparation. Rightly so, the day will have been carefully planned, heeding advice of colleagues, mentors and the ICE’s membership team.
While the fervour of the season reaches its peak, it’s important to reflect on managed professional development and proactive career progression, and recognise that this vital stage – that of peer recognition – is a milestone in an ongoing project. As with any successful project the stages need to be planned, we need to address the “why”, identify the deliverables, stakeholders, milestones, maintenance programme, share lessons learned, and celebrate delivery.
Managed career progression can at times suffer at the hands of other priorities, but growing our skills and competences should not be left to chance.
Thankfully experience cannot be “unlearned” so nothing is lost, but the journey is much quicker if planned and navigated.
Mentors are of course vital stakeholders, providing navigation, keeping an eye on the destination and options ahead. Our ongoing EngTech campaign with IET and IMechE, has once again showed that effective mentoring is the key to success.
Of course, for the vast majority, support for apprentices, technicians and graduates is in addition to the “day job”, which is why we continually seek to evolve our support and services.
Managed and staged, progression is key, and recent conversations with trainees and employers reinforce the fact that all stakeholders in this project share common aims, and that mentoring and guidance from employers and the ICE are what make the difference. And on the theme of progression, I’m encouraged to see more employers promoting Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status on this career journey, whether on route or as a destination.
The ICE’s Membership Recruitment team continues to support employers and their trainees through visits, events, mentor forums and through virtual means. Our webinar programme (live and recorded) and virtual membership surgeries all add capacity to deliver advice to more people, more quickly.
Employers tell me that the well-established ICE professional development programme, our standards and support are highly valued. Success of project career development is dependent on the buy-in and contribution of many stakeholders, and I know the inspiration provided by mentors is critical.
Our support will continue to evolve to ensure mentors have the time and space needed to provide inspiration, and ultimately help to supply the next generation of technicians and engineers.
- Steve Feeley is ICE membership recruitment director