03 October 2013

Quarter century milestone celebrated

Stephen Wearne

One of the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) most successful and long-running training courses – Engineering Project Management – celebrates its 25th birthday this month.

The course first started out in 1973 as a joint project by IChemE and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 1988, IChemE took sole responsibility for the course, with Stephen Wearne (pictured) as course director until he stepped down in 2001. Over 500 people have enrolled on the course since 1988.

Stephen, who was awarded the Brennan Medal in 1999, a former nuclear power project manager and now a retired professor said: “In 1988, IChemE stepped in to ensure the course continued when others withdrew. It was an excellent decision to continue the course and many hundreds of engineers have benefitted since.

“In the early days, we quickly established the core of the course – stage by stage work on the planning, budgeting and management of a case study. As a residential course it was invaluable to enable delegates to network and reflect on their experience and ideas.”

Stephen, who still works as a tutor and senior research fellow at the University of Manchester, continued: “The course has been blessed by some wonderful speakers and personalities, including Harry Moody, from ICI, and Jack Loftus, engineering director at Tate and Lyle.

“Jack became a great supporter and led the course for a short time before his untimely death. He is now remembered by IChemE’s Project Management Special Interest Group who present the Jack Loftus Medal for outstanding contribution to project management every two years.

“Over the years, the course has certainly raised awareness and advanced the skills needed for successful project management. Whilst the types of problems in practice may not have changed greatly, there are still great challenges especially those of communication and organisation”, said Wearne.

Current course director, David Andrews, said: “In today's environment, the need to deliver projects within challenging timeframes and budgets has never been greater, nor the demands made on project managers to deliver them.

“Innovation, coupled with a thorough understanding of the tools and techniques, are essential for modern project managers”.

The next Engineering Project Management course runs from 21-23 October 2013 in Manchester, UK. Full details are available at: www.icheme.org/epm.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).