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Volunteering - all it takes is 4% of your time

Jason Hyde, ICE North West's Volunteer of the Year, explains how little it takes to make a massive impact on the future of the civil engineering profession.

ICE North West
ICE North West's Volunteer of the Year, Jason Hyde.
  • Updated: 17 April, 2019
  • Author: Jason Hyde, Mott MacDonald
As a chartered civil engineer, I understand the need to cultivate and develop new talent to ensure the future of civil engineering is secure in the current and ever-growing skills shortage. 

Over the last few years, I've taken an active role in promoting civil engineering as a viable career choice for the younger generations, as well as furthering the knowledge of the profession with the general public. 

Throughout 2019, I had the opportunity to help organise volunteer engagements aimed at exactly that. 

Working with the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, I helped the ICE engage with approximately 2,000 people, building bridges with primary schools and talking passionately about local projects to members of the community. 

Georgina and Gina (Contemporary Science Team, Science and Industry Museum Manchester) had the following to say: “Coordinating and delivering large-scale events with a large number of partners is not an easy job, but working with enthusiastic, efficient and dedicated partners like Jason and the ICE North West team makes our work a lot easier. 

"Jason enables us to fulfil our ambitions as part of the Science Museum Group, to inspire the next generation of scientists and spark curiosity among our visitors, young and old.” 
 

Why do I do it?

More specifically, I was fortunate to be part of a team of engineers that designed an educational outreach programme that took 140 students from disadvantaged backgrounds to London for a three-day residential design activity and provided over 50 hours of individual learning time. 

This outreach programme saw my employer Mott MacDonald partner with Network Rail to deliver the ambitious programme with cross-company collaboration at all levels. 

Away from the regular engineering volunteering activities that I pursue, I'm also a SCE (supervising civil engineer) and DE (delegated engineer) for several graduate engineers, providing mentoring support, an ICE reviewer, incoming chair for ICE North West and a school governor. 

Why do I do all of that? It’s the excitement – the excitement in the younger generation when they truly start to understand the world around them and see that they could be part of literally changing the world. 
 

'4%'

So, what does it take to be Volunteer of the Year

Well, it’s as simple as four percent. 

Four percent of your day represents approximately an hour of your time. I firmly believe that if every engineer focused on one hour per month on a volunteer activity (visiting a school or talking to the public) we'd be able to make a monumental leap in attracting people into our profession. 

The public would have a better understanding of what we do and overall, we’d leave the profession on a much better footing. 

My challenge to you is: take an hour this month and go and speak to your local school about your job, what it takes and why you enjoy it. 

If just one student asks a question, you’ve done the job. That’s all I ask.

If you want to find out more, please contact the STEM Ambassador network and get involved. 
 

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