Update from David Packer, CEO - February 2017
It’s been a while since my last blog, so there’s some catching up to do! We had a very successful programme of technical events in the autumn of 2016, including a fantastic programme of Section meetings. The highlight was, no doubt, our joint international seminar with the UEEIV (the Union of European Railway Engineering Institutions). Held at the Manchester Conference Centre on the subject of Fixed Track Forms for High Speed Lines, a capacity audience was both captivated and informed by the breadth and depth of the technical presentations from the UK and Europe. It certainly prompted a great deal of discussion and debate about the competing merits of different solutions to the high speed challenge.
Last year was, again, a very successful year for the Institution and its members. At the end of the year we had 2874 individual members, so are poised to top 3000 in the year to come. That’s a great move forward from 2012’s total of 2500. However, we can only continue to grow by offering excellent services to our members. We are particularly interested in the views of those who have joined us recently. Are you getting what you expected? What do we do really well and how could we improve further? We will shortly be sending out a survey to all our members. When you receive yours, I’d encourage you to return it. There will be five £100 prize-winners, drawn at random from the returned surveys, so don’t delay!
We also saw significant growth in our corporate membership in 2016, totalling 25 by the year end. Our corporate members represent the whole cross section of the rail industry and it is proving to be a strong and mutually beneficial partnership. Of course, this growth presents us with the challenges of delivering ever-better value to our corporate members too. We have some ideas in the early stages of development and I look forward to sharing them with you later in the year, as they come closer to being put in place.
The net result of all this good activity is that the PWI is in a strong position, technically and financially, to bring benefit to its members and to the industry. There’s no better indicator of this than our drive for professional recognition and professional registration. The start of 2017 saw all routes to professional registration open. This means that, no matter what your educational background, if you know your stuff and can demonstrate it, you can gain the professional registration you deserve.
The industry is right behind this initiative to recognise and celebrate the professional skills of the many engineers working, in whatever role, on the rail networks. It’s not unusual for me to be at a crossindustry meeting where concerns are expressed about recruiting enough of the right young people to meet the demands of the next 20 years – ours is such a fast-growing industry. One of the key elements of meeting that challenge is demonstrating a pride and a professionalism in what we do and what we deliver. Railway engineering is a great profession and each person should be proud of the part they play in delivering complex things in challenging situations.
David Packer PWI, CEO