Professional Registration – the blog

Post 3 – 11/May/2017

The Professional Review interview (IMechE)

Here at GE Oil & Gas, the company that I work at, offered a Company Based Registration programme, so when it came to the professional review interview, it took place in the company’s premises, hence I didn’t have the need to take time out from work but neither could I get much work done on the day of my interview!

As I was waiting in another room, the interview facilitator walked in, sat down and started briefing me of the interview process. Apart from ensuring the interview proceeds smoothly and fairly, I personally believe the facilitator’s job also includes calming one’s nerves! I was explained of the role of the two assessors, what were they expecting during the interview and what happens after.

I was ushered into the room; a brief introduction took place and the interview commenced and this is where I can stop using the word ‘interview’ because all I remember was a lively and healthy discussion of my roles and responsibilities. I abused the word ‘I’ and used it in every other sentence and you should, because the interview is about you, and the assessors are here to judge your level of responsibility and commitment to the profession.

I had taken along with me, few printouts of test rig drawings that I helped design, examples of technical reports (ensure all documents adhere to your organization’s IP policy), evidence of CPD in the form of certificates of the courses that I had attended and I also took examples of relevant writings from my blog. These documents were there just to support what I had already put in my application form.
There were no trick questions posed nor at any given time did I feel that I was being cornered into a tight spot. The interview turned to be as lively and professional as it could be, and in the end the assessors had to stop due to us going over time. I left the interview thinking that we did not cover all competencies and I was already making up my mind for an appeals process! Gladly I didn’t have the need for it.

The interview took place in early November 2015 and towards the end of the month I received the congratulatory e-mail from IMechE.
So the interview, as I take it, was there to understand why I wanted that CEng. The whole exercise also provided an opportunity for me to step back and assess my skills and experience. 
Post 2 – 04/April/2017

Tips on writing your Professional Registration (UK-SPEC) application form

This could arguably be one of the most daunting task on your way to becoming professionally registered. You have spent years collecting all the evidence and now you need to put them into words and you suddenly hit writer’s block on every other sentence! Not to worry, it doesn’t come easy to everyone, as a matter of fact it took me a couple of months to produce a succinctly completed application form.

Here I have gathered a few writing tips from my own experience and from around the internet. Feel free to add your own.
1. Create a rough draft of the application where you assign a particular task, skill or experience to a specific competency. Do not worry if one of them fits into more than one competencies. Use this draft as your stepping stone. Once you have filled in all the competencies, you can then start to refine, that is, remove the misfits and elaborate on the ones that fit.

2. Use first-person language: it is ‘I’ all the way. The whole process is about getting to know YOU, so now is the time to subtly boast about your roles and responsibilities – I undertook this project.., I scheduled the.., I liaised..

3. Your application form is prime real estate, make sure every word counts in communicating your message.

4. Proof-read like your very life depends on it…..well, that is a bit too exaggerated but you get my point!

5. Get other people’s opinion, get your colleague or friend to give it a read. Does your writing communicate clearly to a diverse set of people?
This is just a short list and I am sure everyone have their own style. What about the tone- formal or friendly? Feel free to share and discuss.

Balaji Aresh (LinkedIn)

The Professional Registration Support Group (Engineering)

Post 1 – 11/April/2017

Member Spotlight- in conversation with Qing Lu (Larry)

Me: Hello Larry, thank you for agreeing for this interview. So to start off with, let’s begin with what motivated you to become a chartered engineer?

Larry: You are welcome Bala. That’s a good question; After completing my PhD, I worked for Newcastle College as an engineering lecturer. In January 2014, I was promoted to the role of deputy section manager of the Energy Academy in Newcastle College. Part of my role was to meet with senior managers of external companies with the aim of improving our teaching quality and course development. After one such meeting, one of the principle engineer of the company enquired whether I was a chartered engineer, and my answer was “no” at that time. He said, “Even though you got your PhD, I still do not trust your decisions as you do not have enough commercial experience…” That comment set me off on a path to become professionally registered.
After reading through information regarding chartered engineers and consulting with other CEngs, I realized that, “CEng for me personally, meant that I now have the external recognition of my competence. In the workplace, it demonstrates a level of professional credibility when dealing with external companies or bodies”. Looking at my experience back then, I recognised that to become a chartered engineer I needed to demonstrate commercial experience within an industry. I therefore moved to an opportunity where I could nurture this and it lead to me getting a job as the lead RF engineer at Eaton in June 2014.

Me: Which institute are you a member of? Did they provide you enough information to pursue your goal for professional registration?
Larry: I am a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Yes, I was provided sufficient information through their website. I also went through the Engineering Council website which has a wealth of information.

Me: How long did the application process take?
Larry: I submitted my CEng application in May 2016, and got my final assessment by a panel of experienced registered members by the end of November. CEng certification was received in January 2017. The IET website provided a thorough breakdown of the process.

Me: I get asked this question a lot and now I ask of you the same- how did the professional review interview go?
Larry: My Professional Review interview with the IET took place at IET London, Savoy Place on November 2016. Two chartered engineers probed all competences, and they placed special stress on competence ‘C’. I just had to expand more on the written evidence. The interview went well and lasted between 2~3 hours.

Me: How long did it take before you received the outcome of the interview?
Larry: In the middle of December 2016 I received the final decision that my application had been successful and that I was now a chartered engineer. This news was the 2nd best gift for my Christmas! The first one was passing my PhD viva in December 2012.

Me: Has the title ‘Chartered Engineer’ made a difference to your career?
Larry: CEng is just a certification, which cannot change your life overnight. But I got a huge amount of invaluable experience in the process of filling out my chartered engineer application form. It helped me assess my skills gap. For example, one of the CEng competence was to provide technical and commercial leadership. Therefore, I took on the additional role of a project manager to meet the requirements. This helped me understand project management thoroughly. I therefore believe that the mere act of getting to a CEng status has made a difference to my career and now that I am one, there is more to come.

Me: That is great to know Larry and lastly what is your advice for potential registrants?
Larry: I started my CEng application in the year 2014, and received my CEng certification in 2017 and that does not include the period that I spent on my PhD research. I would like to therefore advise all potential registrants to start building their CPD and portfolio as soon as possible.

Me: That is excellent advise Larry. Thank you very much. I am sure the members will thoroughly enjoy reading your experience and may have questions of their own. Congratulations again on becoming a Chartered Engineer.
Larry: Thanks Bala. I am open to member’s question and will be glad to help.

Larry can be contact via LinkedIn