At TSP Projects, personal and professional development is at the forefront of our minds. If there’s an opportunity to learn and grow, we take it.
One route to professional development for our teams is the Institution of Civil Engineers EngTech MICE accreditation – a globally recognised qualification which cements your expertise, showcasing a high level of competency as an Engineer.
Achieving it requires the demonstration of a high standard of work, stringent attention to detail and diversity of project scope. We’re delighted that Owen Silver, a Senior Technician in our Bridges team in York has just achieved this standard. We asked him about his experience to find out what pearls of wisdom he could share with those considering starting this journey themselves.
What started you on the path to this qualification?
Coming in to the business without a defined route, such as Chartership, I felt that perhaps I wouldn’t be able to progress as far as I’d like if I didn’t have a professional standard to be held accountable to. It can be more challenging for a technician to demonstrate their expertise without having a personal relationship or recommendation. Going through ICE to get this accreditation offered me an opportunity to really demonstrate my commitment to my professional development
How long have you been working towards this?
It’s been about 2 and a half year process in total, which has fitted around my day to day work at TSP Projects. The first 18 months involved trying to gain as much varied work experience as possible, demonstrating a progression from a purely CAD based role. Aiming to become more involved in the technical, commercial, safety and environmental aspects of projects. These experiences are the fundamental building blocks of the application. In the last year there have been more specific tasks to undertake as I’ve been working on my application, organising sponsors and preparing for the interview.
What was involved in the process?
It’s really about demonstrating a series of attributes which the professional body see as key to the role of a technician. You submit a form which has 4 questions to answer, around a 750 word response per question, providing evidence of not only your technical experience, but also your ability to problem solve; your professional commitment and how you focus on development, such as evidencing your CPDs and mentoring others.
At the beginning it’s about working on your application form and finding two sponsors who are members of the professional body that need to provide recommendations for you. You then need to prepare for your professional review, which consists of presenting to a panel during an interview where they ask you about your application and the wider industry. The really difficult part is the wait. It takes around 3 – 6 weeks to find out the decision and, for me, I found out on the last day of the 6 weeks – it was the most nerve-wracking time.
How will your new qualification help your career?
Having this behind me really helps me demonstrate my competence and commitment, it provides clients with additional reassurance and, for career development, it affords me the chance to take on more responsibility. Throughout the process I’ve also started to mentor other members of the team and more junior staff working towards this qualification, sharing my experience and helping them prepare their applications. This in turn develops my own leadership skills, which feeds back into my continual professional development so it’s a real win-win.
What do you wish you’d known before you started?
Probably how broad the attributes they would be looking for were. I assumed at the start it would be 100% demonstration of technical ability but it’s so much more than that. It’s about the whole picture of your own professional development, from how you collaborate with other teams to how you solve problems. It’s not just about demonstrating that you can do something but it’s how you do something.
What is your advice to someone about to start?
Go for it! I’d definitely recommend that you check out the resources online. I gained my qualification through ICE and they had plenty of support and information online which made the process easier.
Starting the application, I found it helped me to make a list of bullet points in response to the questions and, from there I could spot any weak areas and look to find more examples of my experience to support these.
Speak to other members of your team and to your mentors for advice and support throughout the process, they will be a wealth of knowledge and, will help you to see things from a different perspective to make sure your application is well rounded.
For more information about the ICE EngTech qualification that Owen completed, visit the website here