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ICE London Committee member Edward Trollope wants to help engineers with post-qualification paths.
I obtained chartered status with the ICE in 2018. It was a lot of hard graft, I was super nervous on the day at ICE headquarters One Great George Street (OGGS) in London, and it felt like such an achievement when I got my certificate from the ICE President (Professor Lord Robert Mair at the time).
When I spoke to my engineering friends, a lot of people said: "It was great to finally be done," and "thank god that's over".
It was true that it was the end of something. It felt like a long road from university (my route, but apprenticeships and other learning routes for others) to a graduate engineer, and then Chartered Engineer.
A lot of emphasis was put on 'Chartered Engineers' at the end of university. There was a huge amount of support and events from the ICE on the subject, and this seemed like the obvious goal once I graduated.
A lot of my colleagues said their rough plan was to get chartered, then see how it goes from there. Well guess what, I am now 'there'. Now what?
Chartership was the end….it was just that many people didn’t realise it was the end of an initial phase in our careers and lives.
We had reached a summit (which should be celebrated as it was a hard climb at times!), but now there was the small matter of the rest of the summits i.e. the rest of our careers.
To be very honest, I took a break from 'extra-curricular activities' and greatly reduced the engineering events I got involved with or attended after gaining my professional qualification, as I had wanted a break.
But what I realised was that I now needed guidance and to chat to people in a similar scenario as me, even more than when I progressed my chartership.
I spoke to my colleagues (some of whom were qualified, some were not, there is no 'right' path, remember) as well as people with non-engineering careers, and although the feedback was very different, there was similar message in all of them: pick areas you like, areas you want to improve, and go from there.
Speaking to friends across the industry, we realised that now we would like more talks on areas such as leadership, sustainable culture, wellbeing of our teams, how to improve networks etc. as would many people, which is where the post-professional qualification events called 'ICE Coffee Breaks' come in.
For people who have been involved in the ICE in the past, whether regularly actively involved or attending the occasional event, after a well-deserved break, the post-professional qualification events will help to assist with the next steps.
Whether people are looking to go more technical, managerial, change career, etc. there will be a range of talks and events to help you and hopefully improve your skills.
For people who have not been too involved with ICE or similar events, this is a great starting point to use the ICE resources to your advantage, to assist you in figuring out your next steps, or maybe just develop your skills and see where that takes you.
Perhaps you want a change of career direction, sector, or are unsure about what to focus on and work towards in this new stage.
The ICE Coffee Breaks content will provide examples from engineers at various stages of their careers and share useful advice across a range of subjects, as well as an opportunity to network with your peers.
The interactive sessions are aimed for members within 0 – 10 years post your professional qualification, although they are open to all.
Here are my top three tips for engineers who've become chartered, and are wondering what to do next:
Develop your skills in key areas that interest you and you want to develop into, and then see where you want to take your career. Speak to others who have been through this before, as they can be a great resource.
People often talk about what they wish their senior team or mentor was like, or had certain skills. Well you could now have the chance to be that person.
Could be just within your team, company or a wider industry issue. Get involved, even if very small at first and get stuck in. If you need some ideas, ICE's State of the Nation 2021 would be a great place to start.
Please let us know your top tips for post-professionally qualified life. Email us at [email protected], or look out for our posts on LinkedIn and share your thoughts with us online.
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