ICE Fellow Rachel Pether shares her journey to fellowship and her advice for those who wish to do the same.
For me personally, becoming a Fellow of the ICE was the next logical step in my career-long relationship with my professional institution.
More specifically, I was inspired to go for fellowship when I was preparing to apply for the All Reservoirs Panel.
To be an all reservoirs panel engineer (ARPE), it’s necessary to demonstrate that you’re working at a senior level within your sector, and becoming an ICE Fellow was an excellent way to evidence this.
Plus, it was great to receive the external recognition
Providing role models by getting involved
Over the past eight years I’ve been very involved with the ICE through my position on the British Dam Society (BDS) committee, and the ICE Reservoirs Committee.
This has given me renewed understanding and respect for the role that the ICE plays in our industry.
As with all engineering disciplines, women are currently underrepresented in the BDS.
I believe that participating in industry networks and providing visible role models is an important part of encouraging more women into the profession.Rachel Pether
Preparing my submission
To become an ICE Fellow, I needed to submit my CPD records, ICE attributes and an organogram showing my position at civil engineering company Binnies.
I also had to obtain two sponsors to support me through the process, which in my case were two colleagues at Binnies.
As always with this type of thing, it was a challenge to find time between my day job and family life to complete my fellowship application.
However, I found the process of setting deadlines and completing one of the documents each month made the task very manageable.
The value of supportive peers
The ICE fellowship team was very helpful throughout the process and promptly responded to any questions that I had.
I also had support from several of my colleagues who’d completed their fellowships, and who reviewed my application to ensure that I was bringing out the absolute best from the 20 years of industry experience that I had at the time.
Binnies is very supportive of individuals who want to become fellows of their professional institutions and it was great to have this support during the process.
Professional development continues
I became a Fellow of the ICE in 2018, and then went on to be appointed as the first female ARPE in the UK during the same year.
In 2022, I was named as one of the Women’s Engineering Society’s Top 50 Women in Engineering.
In March 2022 I was honoured to host ICE Past President Ed McCann during an event at Binnies.
It was fantastic to discuss with him the contribution that the ICE continues to make in driving the agenda within the water industry on important topics such as nature-based solutions and the journey to net zero.
Taking the plunge
In my technical role as an ARPE and my role as a business leader at Binnies, I’m keenly aware of my position as a role model in the industry.
I aim to be an ally for women who wish to follow in my footsteps and enjoy a successful and rewarding career in engineering.
My advice for anybody considering becoming an ICE Fellow is to do your research, speak to other fellows and the ICE and find your personal motivation as to why this is important to you.
Once you have committed, break the process down into manageable chunks and just go for it.
Before you know it, you too will be celebrating this unique recognition of your contribution to our industry!