Friday, April 07, 2006

Has New Engineering Institution missed a trick?

Institute of Engineering and Technology
With much fanfare and pizazz, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) has emerged as the organisation representing engineering professionals across a range of disciplines. Quite right too. After a decade or more of the Institutes of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (IEE and IMechE) unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a nearly-all encompassing engineering institution, the IEE has eventually merged with the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and created the vehicle with the potential to eventually serve all Engineers, irrespective of discipline. The IET is born. This is much needed as the historic fragmentation has struggled to find the critical mass to maintain a respect for Engineering as a profession.

HOWEVER. In focussing on the merger and with much introspection, have we all missed a trick? I think so. It struck me today that a body "engaged in engineering and technology" has failed to meaningfully recognise the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the worlds' greatest engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and leaving the celebrations to the stewardship of Bristol City Council, The Arts Council, The National Lottery and Business West- who, by the way, are doing an excellent job. What a great message of engineering inclusion it would have been for the IET to join with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers and Institute of Civil Engineers in celebrating such an amazing life. The IMechE joined in with solid support for the Portsea celebrations. Is this the difference between the message of inclusion and the actual culture of an organisation? As a result, the IET has appeared to be out of step with the rest of the engineering community. I hang my head in shame, hoping and promising to contribute to keeping our eyes open and not letting this happen again. The IET is the future of engineering in our country.

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