In May I was delighted to be elected as the new Chairman of the North West Regional Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineer, succeeding Dr David Ball who has stepped down after two fantastically successful two years in the Chair. So, to begin with I thought I’d take this opportunity to introducing myself to you.
I have been a Chartered Engineer since 2000 and a Fellowship since 2008. Two achievements that I am very proud of. I currently work for Sellafield Limited, up in West Cumbria, where I have worked for over 21 years now in various engineering roles. However, I haven’t always worked in the Nuclear Industry as I began my working life as an apprentice fitter/turner with British Steel (as it was then) in Workington, who sponsored me through University, where graduating from Salford University in 1988.
On the IMechE front, I was a founder committee member of the West Cumbria Area, when we resurrected the former ‘Whitehaven Panel’ back in 2000, and have held various committee roles including Chairman and Secretary (twice).
I am of course an IMechE and STEM Ambassador, organising and taking parting in many educational activities in West Cumbria each year, including, the IMechE’s Engineering Your Future and Our World in 2050, as well as numerous other Primary and Secondary School STEM activities. I am also an IMechE eMPDS Mentor and a Professional Review Interview for IMechE members seeking election as IEng, CEng or Fellow.
Throughout my active roles with the Institution I have always had one main passion, and that is “Inspiring the Next Generation”. I firmly believe if we are to stop the haemorrhaging of our Engineering Skills Base we need to start that ‘inspiration’ as soon as we possibly can, and that means getting in early at Primary School Level to ‘sow the seed’ that Engineering in what makes the World Go Around at Key Stage 2, and we do that though our STEM activities with ‘Primary Engineer’ initiative. Once in Secondary School, we need to ‘Inspire’ them again at Key Stage 3, to take that seed and make it start to germinate into a realisation that Engineering is a career you can really aspire to and a role which plays a vital part in solving the World’s problems, be that Global Warming, Energy Sustainability, or future Transportation solutions. We do that through our ‘Engineering Your Future’, ‘Girls in Engineering’ and ‘Our World in 2050’ initiatives.
When our budding new engineers are through their Secondary Education and off to University, we may be tempted to sit back and say; “well, we’ve done our bit”, but no we can still loose them. I forget the actual figure, but it’s hard to believe that somewhere in the region of 15-20% of Engineering Graduates don’t actually take up a career in Engineering!! They are enticed away into banking or some other service sector profession. So it’s vital we ‘Inspire’ them while they are at University to keep that inspiration going, which we do with our inter-university ‘Design Challenge’ competition, which was started here in the North West by David Ball, and this year is going ‘National’ with a pilot competition being run in London with the main Universities in the Capital.
And there is much, much more that we could be doing, ‘Greenpower’, ‘Bloodhound’, ‘Smallpiece Trust’, to name but a few, but we don’t have the volunteer resources to do them.
We also have some great opportunities in Media Relations, eCommunications, Website Administration that we are looking for volunteers to get trained and involved in at Regional level. And it’ll look great on your CV.
As some of you are aware, we have adopted Three Key Objectives in the North West Region that are aligned to the IMechE Business Objectives and are the mantra of everything that we do in our Areas and Divisions.
The Three Key Objectives are fundamental to what we do, and at my first Regional Committee Meeting as Chairman, the Committee reaffirmed it’s commitment to them and took the opportunity to agree a slight re-focusing of our them, ensuring that we retained their original intent and alignment to the HQ Business Plan, but at the same time allowing us to better recognise the great work we are doing on our STEM activities:
- To hold a balanced number of events across the Areas that make up the NW Region.
- ensuring that the events we hold are interesting, engaging and meet the CPD needs of our members, including targeting specific lectures/seminars/workshops etc through our Young Members Panel network, that are both appealing to our younger engineers and aligned to the work are doing at college or university.
- To inspire more young people to join the Engineering Profession through sustaining and where possible expanding our Educational Initiatives portfolio.
- ensuring we continue to deliver our STEM Activities across the Region through our existing Educational Champions and to seek new Champions to join the Regional Committee to take on new educational initiatives.
- To persuade more members to become more involved with the activities of Institution at Area, Division and Regional level.
- produce committee succession plans for key officer positions and to seek new people to join the committees. Encourage Area/Divisional Committee Member to join the Regional Committee to take on new roles such as Media Relations, Events Co-ordination, Web Administration etc
Watch out for something else new this year – an IMechE Regional Committee Meeting Near You!!! Yes the Regional Committee is going on the road. We are moving the meetings around the four Areas that make up the Region. So whether you’re in South or West Cumbria, Lancashire or Greater Manchester, there will be a Regional Committee Meeting on your door step over the next 12 months. So why not come along and see what we do and talk about. Or better still offer get involved.
Well that’s enough from me for now. I hope to meet as many of you as possible during my stint as Regional Chair, but in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch with me about anything to do with the IMechE. If I can’t help you right away, I’ll certainly find out who you need to talk to the get the answer you are looking for.
David J Williamson CEng FIMechE
Chairman – IMechE West Cumbria