Thursday May 18, 2023
Thursday May 18, 2023
Leading and managing people, projects, or teams, requires more than a high degree of technical knowledge. Experience and education provide the foundation for success in an engineering manager's role, but it also requires a great deal of foresight and strategic thinking and just like any skill, becoming an effective manager and leader takes time and effort.
With businesses emerging from COVID-19 to a new and rapidly changing professional landscape, it is more critical than ever that companies take a proactive approach in developing and supporting engineering leaders of the future. Remote and hybrid working practices are now routine for many businesses and employees, and organisations can no longer rely on young engineers picking up communication and teamwork skills ‘by osmosis’ in the office environment.
The IMechE’s Essential Management Skills conference has been running for over 20 years and offers three days of workshops, networking, and site visits to equip early-career professionals with the knowledge they need to make the step up in their careers. Helen had the opportunity to attend this year's conference in April, to find out more about the value of leadership training, some 20-odd years since she last went to it.
Before she arrived Helen spoke with Dr Vasileios Samaras, a senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Swansea, and a fellow of the IMechE. Vasileios teaches the principles and application of leadership and management to undergraduates and having spent many years in industry before returning to academia, is keen to ensure young engineers are well prepared for the challenges that leadership brings.
Stephen Brown is the chair of the EMS organising committee and got involved having previously attended the conference as a delegate. He found the conference to be extremely insightful and feels that all early careers and recent graduates should take the opportunity to attend.
Emma Wilson is one of the delegates attending the conference from Howden based in Scotland. Helen asked Emma why having the opportunity to learn about leadership early in her career, was so important, and what she hoped to take away with her from the experience.
Maira Bana is Co-Chair of the IMechE’s Construction and Building Services Division and an ambassador for She Can Engineer. She also attended EMS back in 2018. Poppy Harrison is a young engineer; D&I officer for the Greater London region and one of the organising committee members for the EMS 2023/24 conference. Helen spoke to both of them about the conference itself, why it is important from a D&I perspective and how leadership in industry has changed over the last 10 years.
Paul Taylor has been providing training in the IMechE for many years and feels leadership and management skills are a fundamental part of what it means to be an engineer. Helen asked Paul to share his thoughts from a trainer’s point of view.
Jack is a young engineer working at Sellafield and is looking to move into his first leadership role. Helen asked him why his company felt leadership and management skills were valuable to them.
Robin Safas is Programme Development Lead for the IMechE. It’s his job to ensure events such as the EMS run smoothly by supporting the organising committees in developing and planning their events. Robin sees this conference as an investment in the careers of future engineers and a way for companies to empower their workforce.
Robyn Stark, is also a an engineer from Howden. As a recent graduate she felt that she was a long way from being a leader in her career, but she recognised that the skills she was learning would be very useful for building relationships with her colleagues in the future.
David Edmondson, is one of the guest speakers at the conference who has had a varied career in both the military and industry and feel passionate about leadership training and how engineers can learn from best practice in the armed forces.
IMechE Training - Early Career Development Programme
Details of the Essential Management Skills 2023
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You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at www.imeche.org