Working towards Chartership
What is the journey to becoming chartered like? Idha Valeur gets insights from Chartered Engineers and industry bodies to hear their advice for others starting out on the same path.
What is your day-to-day job?
Blessing Danha (BD): I work for KMPG in major projects advisory where we provide advice to clients in infrastructure. Currently, I am working as Programme Manager for Highways England and the Department for Transport on the Roads Investment Programme 2 (RIS2). This means I am responsible for managing the programme and some of my deliverables include producing progress reports and dashboards, tracking progress against milestones and facilitating workshops between the parties.
Jagadish Babu (JB): I work in an offshore design consultancy in India managing a technical delivery team. I am directly responsible for performance and programme management. My role is to plan the projects, review progress and check and review the deliverables. To be competitive I continuously engage my team and myself in upskilling. I am involved in training and development. To add value for money, I always drive innovation and digital in the work. I keep my communication channels with all the stakeholders very active to keep the project very healthy.
David Wright (DW): I am a consulting engineer working within a small team of materials and corrosion experts at Mott MacDonald’s Altrincham office. We undertake our own projects and also provide support to other engineers working within the group globally. As a result, the work can be varied and occasionally quite random – one week I might be carrying out some non destructive testing (NDT) in Manchester, the next I might be advising on durability issues for a new-build in the Middle East, or designing a system to prevent corrosion of a multi-million dollar piece of art in a private collection in the USA. I also have project management responsibility, with current fees in the order of £500,000.
Can you describe your journey to becoming chartered?
BD: I followed a pretty traditional route to Chartership. I did an MEng degree in civil engineering then worked for Kier on building sites across London. I sought design experience by doing a secondment at AECOM to ensure I met all the attributes required. In addition, I became actively involved in promoting the profession through work as a STEM ambassador where I would visit schools to inspire the next generation. Being London-based made meeting my CPD quota easier because there was a large pool of lectures and talks to pick from. My mentor was instrumental too because we met regularly to plan and monitor my training.
JB: My journey towards my Chartership was never an easy one. I had many start-stop, start-stop situations before I took it seriously. I was an environmental engineer working in the water industry, so the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) was more suitable for me. I first became a registered member, got chartership as a CEng and then I became a chartered water and environmental manager (CWEM). There were not many Chartered Engineers from CIWEM in India and I did not have a great beginning, however, there were many who have helped me with that. As a first step, I did my self-assessment with my mentor to identify the development areas. Once I listed them down, I put a plan across to fill those gaps. I set a clear milestone for everything, and started working towards my plan. I continuously kept working towards my Chartership. My mentors and sponsors have equal efforts in my success as without their guidance and support, it wouldn’t have been easy. Once I was ready with my application, I got it reviewed from a couple of fresh eyes, just to make sure I had ticked all the boxes. The application process was simple and the CIWEM team was very helpful in submitting my application. The professional review process was very simple as it was done through Skype. I got my results within two weeks and it’s all a success-story thereafter.
DW: I completed my MEng and then EngD – both at the School of Materials at The University of Manchester – and have since worked as an engineer, so I have a strong background in materials science and engineering which provided me with a good basis to satisfy many of the CEng criteria. When I initially came to consider my application, I felt that I didn’t have sufficient experience under competence group C, ‘provide technical and commercial leadership’, so I delayed my application while I was able to improve my experience in this area. My previous involvement with IOM3, being a member of the Construction Materials Technical Group and having assisted with the organisation of several YMC events, was also valuable.
What advice would you give to others pursuing Chartership?
BD: I would say do it. Make sure the firm that you work for has a good training scheme or at least is supportive of your ambitions. Being chartered will open many doors and it gives you a sense of achievement and pride.
JB: First and foremost, what one must do is to prepare the development gaps and start filling those gaps. It takes the time it takes and there is no set timeline for the process. As it is a time-consuming process, it needs a bit of discipline and consistency. You need a lot of motivation throughout, so connect to the people who are already chartered or working towards it. You keep your CPD active and healthy which helps a lot in the professional review interview. Along with you, your mentors and sponsors will have equal efforts, hence, make sure you don’t miss on any of your targets.
DW: Start pulling your application together today and you will probably realise that you are closer to meeting the criteria than you thought you were. This will also help you to identify any areas where you might need to put in additional effort. It is also worth getting started now so that you don’t leave too much to do just before you are planning to submit, and so that you don’t forget anything.
How has becoming registered affected your career?
BD: It enabled me to secure certain roles, particularly in the Middle East where professional qualifications were highly regarded.
JB: Chartership has given me a celebrity status, being the first Chartered Engineer from CIWEM in India makes me proud. It comes with a lot of expectations and responsibilities. A title of CEng and CWEM next to my name demonstrates that I am ready for those expectations and responsibilities in the industry. Chartership is not a result of what I am today, but it is the way to go where I want to.
DW: The immediate benefits of becoming chartered will depend on the attitude of your employer and industry to professional registration. Fortunately, it is highly valued in my sector so I was rewarded when I became chartered with a promotion. In the longer term, being a chartered engineer is so widely recognised that it is a requirement for some clients, particularly international ones, so that not being professionally registered would surely limit some opportunities.
What the Engineering Council says...
According to the council, one of the main benefits of being professionally registered – either as an engineering technician (EngTech), incorporated engineer (IEng) or chartered engineer (CEng) – is being set apart as an engineer with high standards, who works in an ethical, sustainable and professional way.
‘Professional registration can increase employability and enhance your career prospects, as it offers an independent assessment that you have reached the required level of competence and commitment. Professional registration is recognised internationally and demonstrates not only your competence but your commitment to maintaining that competence in the future,’ Engineering Council Chief Executive Officer Alasdair Coates BEng(Hons) MSc CEng FICe MCIHT CMIOSH, told Materials World.
What the Engineering Council could offer on your route to Chartership is:
- Videos introducing the council, as well as explaining what the process to registration will look like and the benefits of being professionally registered. Videos can be watched here: bit.ly/2E16WrW
- A vast amount of information on their website to get you going
- Access to UK-SPEC, which is the core source of information about registration and the requirements needed to become registered
In addition to the above, the council works closely with licensed engineering institutions and believes these institutions are the best places to offer specific advice relating to individual circumstances.
Coates says the process is actually pretty straightforward. First, you join a licensed professional engineering institution, then you tell your institution that you are working towards professional registration. This ensures the institution is able to assess your existing qualifications and experience, as well as record your professional development as you do it. Then, when you feel ready you submit your application for the professional review.
‘This starts with a written application, which may vary depending on your institution’s requirements, then for IEng and CEng candidates, there is a professional review interview,’ Coates said ‘The sooner you start recording your professional development, the easier you are likely to find the process.’
What IOM3 says...
The membership team at IOM3 works closely with both non-members and members on their journey to professional registration. The Institute offers practical workshops, individual guidance on which registration is most suitable for each individual, based on their qualifications and career to date. The membership team also assists in allocating a trained mentor, who will help with anything from identifying a suitable project on which to base a case study, to technical presentations.
IOM3 Head of Membership Irene Rudnicki, told Materials World, ‘The application route and level of registration a candidate needs to take depend on their academic qualifications. The academic threshold is set by the Engineering Council, Science Council, or Society for the Environment. We conduct comprehensive accreditation checks, the outcome of these checks determines the application route an individual needs to take.’
The Institute recommends that anyone who is contemplating taking that first step towards becoming registered takes a look at the article on the IOM3 website called ‘Registration: What does it mean for me?’, which can be read here: bit.ly/2SPoJdS
IOM3 offers the following
For more information
For more information about how to become registered or how to get support during your application process, please explore resources on the IOM3 website: bit.ly/2V9jOSn or contact the membership team. Please find contact information here: bit.ly/2TZjCFa For more information on the practical workshops run by the Institute, contact Ian Bowbrick at: firstname.lastname@example.org