“It was a real surprise to receive the award” says Simon Wood, Professional Developer at Jaguar Land Rover, “but I’m really honoured to get that recognition from the IMechE”.
Simon was nominated for the EngTech Visionary Award following his work with Farah Baksh of the Institution to develop a new path to EngTech registration. Engineering Technicians apply proven techniques and procedures to help solve practical engineering problems.
Most engineers complete their EngTech registration on a relatively ad hoc basis, so Simon’s innovation was to create a new registration process for undergraduates who were completing their year in industry. This path to EngTech registration provides them with a broader and more structured placement year and adds a lot of value to their experience.
While working at JCB, Simon put in place the processes, support and development that enabled undergraduates to achieve EngTech by the end of their 12-month placement. Besides completing a Standard Route EngTech Application, students also had to complete two placement reports which helped develop their report writing (an invaluable skill for an Engineering Technician). This meant that the students came away from their time at the company not only with essential experience, but a valuable certification to their names too.
And it’s been a real success. Simon notes that the approach was popular with students. In the four years he ran the initiative at JCB a full 60 students gained EngTech registration. The initiative also saw a further 30 apprentices on the company’s different schemes receive accreditation too. Since joining Jaguar Land Rover in 2018, Simon has gone on to introduce a similar initiative there.
Simon is a real advocate of EngTech registration. “It’s a steppingstone for graduates”, he explains, giving them the foundations to develop more rapidly as professionals. He also notes that “it provides an independent validation that you’re a competent technician, showing that you can do the job, follow the rules and keep others safe”.
And this is borne out by his own experience. Simon joined JCB in 2011 after 22 years in the RAF. While he knew he had gained essential skills through his career so far, applying for EngTech registration provided him with a structured way to evidence his competence, which was useful when transitioning into a different field. Crucially, it also revealed areas he could improve, which helped him become a stronger engineer. “It's the sense that you get greater confidence with describing what you do as an individual, and can really demonstrate your competence”.
When Simon applied for his own EngTech registration in 2011 he received guidance from the IMechE and he believes there is enormous value in getting support throughout the process. “If you are thinking of getting EngTech registration, you need to get support” he maintains. This ensures that applicants produce well-written, robust applications, which meet the standards required for registration. For undergraduates, having all this support and guidance in one place during their year in industry is clearly very valuable.
Farah Baksh of the IMechE says that she was especially delighted to hear about Simon’s success,
“He really understands what professional registration is about”, she explains. He appreciates that it’s “not just about the individual, but about what registration can mean for the company too”.
Thanks to his enthusiastic approach to EngTech registration, Simon has helped increase the number of EngTech registered engineers, which helps both the individual and their employer – making him a deserving winner of 2019’s EngTech Visionary Award.