Nurturing interest in building-services engineering

Catching them young — CIBSE’s involvement in Imagineering is aimed at getting eight- to 16-year olds interested in engineering as a future career.
Its special position in the industry makes the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers well placed to stimulate interest in a building-services career.The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineering is doing its part to redress the skills and personnel shortages within the industry. Through its linking of academia and all sections of the industry, CIBSE has a pivotal role to play in this endeavour. A new CIBSE Industry, Education & Training Group has been formed to improve communications and co-operation between building-services employers and the colleges and universities that educate future employees. The group will be a forum for discussion and the formulation of strategies regarding building-services education and training. The group has three main aims. • Fulfilling the needs of industry by improving the quality, number and knowledge base of students. • Supporting the needs of universities and colleges through the sourcing of students, industry panels and lecturers. • Promoting opportunities within building services for children from 14 years onwards. The CIBSE Patrons, comprising 90 companies, many of whom are major employers in the industry, support this initiative and will participate in the work of the group. The Patrons are also active in other ways by supporting CIBSE’s presence at the annual Imagineering Fair and through funding a new bursary. Imagineering takes place over the August bank-holiday weekend in Stoneleigh and is designed to get children aged eight to 16 interested in choosing engineering as a future career. Since engineering is science based, it is important that schoolchildren do not neglect the science subjects within the curriculum. CIBSE has now initiated three bursaries for students studying on building-services courses. There are two at London South Bank University funded by the AG Manly Charitable Trust and one at the University of Nottingham funded by CIBSE Patrons. In a related development, CIBSE’s North East Region has set up a tuition fee sponsorship scheme to cover tuition fees on the building-services engineering degree course at Northumbria University. To date 20 local and nationally based companies have pledged support. Much of CIBSE’s work in promoting and encouraging students to choose building services is done through the network of regional groups who work closely with local, schools, universities and employers. Once students enroll on courses they can join CIBSE as Student Affiliates. The cost is low. For full time students on courses up four years long, there is a one-off joining fee of £5 joining fee plus a one-off subscription of £32). The benefits are substantial: careers assistance, free Data Book, complimentary subscription to Building Services Journal, low-cost admission to the CIBSE National Conference and much, much more. CIBSE also works closely with other organisations such as the Engineering & Technology Board and Construction Industry Council to promote engineering and construction more widely as careers.
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