You Make A Difference - President's Blog 7184

You Make A Difference - President's Blog

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I can’t believe how quickly my time as IET President is flying by. It’s now March, which means I’ve already been in post for nearly five months, and I’m absolutely loving my new role.

It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to meet – albeit virtually – so many amazing difference makers from around the world and to learn about their work and what inspires them to go the extra mile in the pursuit of engineering excellence and enriching society.

I marked the start of our 150th anniversary celebrations by recognising the extraordinary contribution made by our 16 new Honorary Fellows. We’ve also just celebrated the achievements of our six incredibly talented and inspiring finalists at the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year ceremony. They are all extraordinary role models.

Addressing digital poverty is high on my agenda. I’m particularly keen to help disadvantaged children and young people who don’t have access to the internet, a laptop or tablet. The government lockdowns have hit this group particularly hard, preventing them from studying effectively at home and staying connected. In October I helped our IET Education department to work with Digital Access For All in setting up a ground-breaking Digital Poverty Alliance. It includes key stakeholders from government, industry and academia who are working with us on a joint approach to tackling digital poverty. This really is a giant step in the right direction.

I’m a great believer in the power of collaboration, so have been meeting up regularly with my counterparts in the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. We’ve had some excellent discussions about jointly enabling the engineering and technology community to inform relevant government policy and help engineer a better world.

I’m pleased to report that our Global Volunteer Engagement Fund has been put to excellent use in Colombia, France, Kenya and Singapore, where it has helped to finance volunteer-led activities focused on sustainability and inspiring new audiences about STEM. Some activities have been postponed until 2022 when we are able to meet again in person so that no one misses out.

Rather than allowing the pandemic to dampen our spirits, we have launched some brilliant competitions that open the door to creativity and shine a light on the awesome power of STEM. The first is the Children’s Fiction Prize, which will be awarded to the best, as yet unpublished, author whose story features a STEM-focused protagonist who is working to engineer a better world.

The second is the Manufacturing Futures Prize, which seeks engineered solutions to some of the fashion sector’s many manufacturing challenges – we’ve teamed up with the Fashion District and University of the Arts London for this one and I’m looking forward to reviewing the entries as a judge.

We’re also on the lookout for your nominations for a new Celebrating Impact exhibition.  Tell us who’s inspired you through their engineering or technical endeavours and made a positive impact on our lives.  They could be a trailblazer from the past, a pioneer of the present or a visionary of the future. Whoever they are, please nominate them. Entries are now open!

Looking ahead, I’m super-excited about our first-ever global IET Engineering Open House Day, an awesome, information-packed online programme of interviews, experiments, innovations and much, much more. Make sure you save the date (Friday 23 July) and spread the word – we’re always keen for more organisations to get involved!

I would like to thank everyone who has played a role in bringing our mission, vision and values to life during these unprecedented times. You really are making a massive difference and I am so proud to be your President.

Professor Danielle George MBE FIET
 
Blog IET Insights 09/03/2021 9:30am GMT

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