A final farewell from President Martin Cox

17 Dec 2018

As the new year begins, it’s time for another IOM3 President to put pen to paper in preparation for signing off after two years in the role. This particular year coincides with the retirement of IOM3 CEO Bernie Rickinson and the appointment of Colin Church.

The second year of presidency, if anything, goes faster than the first. Initially, there is the familiarity of the meeting schedules but added to that are the initiatives put in motion in the first year and, because they are a president’s own ‘pet projects’, they attract your focus and, quite naturally, some of your energy.

Being a former student apprentice from the mining industry, one of my aims has been to try to establish the opportunity for those late in their school careers to get some early industrial exposure and get a feel for an alternative route from full-time education – a working route, hopefully with opportunity for continuing further education. As I started work, industry was very active in this approach, and it is appearing again as industry looks to attract, recruit and retain a younger workforce.

It is hoped that IOM3 can keep building the capability to provide sixth form students the opportunity for a short industrial placement, providing travel, accommodation and subsistence support. Last year, we managed to support three students at Tata steel, Port Talbot, UK. In the coming year, we hope to place four students – two within Tata Steel, Port Talbot and Cogent, Newport – and then identify one of the students who has made the most of the opportunity and support them in attending the Young Persons’ Lecture Competition final held at the Armourers & Brasiers in April 2019. In future, the intention would be to grow the system of placement and support via the relevant local society. As always, it will be our ability to attract membership and funding to undertake such initiatives.

The diary of events in 2018 marched by, including the IOM3 Awards and the Technicians and New Fellows evening. It is always a pleasure to meet award winners, those who are just starting out and those that have achieved Fellowship, marking a point in their career and recognition of their achievements.

The series of ‘Materials Protecting Society’ events continued to take place at 297 Euston Road, with a very timely ‘Materials Protecting the Environment’ in February and again at the end of November with ‘Materials Protecting People’. The impetus comes from background work that has been going on for some time through the Industry Technology Policy Board (ITPB), working across the technical disciplines with the Sustainability Group, and will continue into 2019 with further events under the overall theme.

A brief mention that the ITPB has now been renamed as the Technical Communities Board (TCB), and with it a change in approach, with a view to increase the networking across all division and societies including local societies and interest groups. The underlying reason for this change is to create a more dynamic environment for generation and delivery of ideas within, across and inter-division. A new concept being introduced, the role of Strategic Advisor working within the divisions as both catalyst and translator of ideas, promoting interaction with the TCB. This builds on the successful trialling of cross-cutting activities created previously, the most prominent being the Materials Protecting Society events.

The 2nd Russian Raw Materials Dialogue in October 2018 was another successful all-day event introducing our colleagues to the city, with an awareness of the gap in style and culture between the UK and the Russian way. It was hugely enjoyable and a great opportunity to be developing longer term relationships with our Russian partners.

As we welcome in the new year, the first female President of IOM3, Professor Serena Best, will be taking up the role from 2019. Serena is from the Biomedical Applications Division, a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of IOM3 and the Royal Academy of Engineering, has been awarded a CBE, and has been active with the IOM3 Women in Materials group.

Good luck to Serena, and best wishes to all as we welcome in 2019.

So, it’s goodbye from me as President.

Martin Cox