Presidential Blog: Making new connections

Presidential Blog: Making new connections

29th February 2024

Attending our Parliamentary roundtable event on ‘Unlocking the workforce for the green transition’ was a highlight for me this month, as well as a great showcase for the hard work of our new Policy and Impact team. Hosted by IChemE, and kindly sponsored by the Member of Parliament for Rugby, Mark Pawsey, the discussion was attended by a mix of representatives from industry, think tanks, academia and parliamentarians from both houses. Our focus was on how to ensure that the UK has enough people with the right skills working on the huge challenge of the green transition, and that the opportunities created can be accessed by all. With many IChemE members working on the frontline of making green energy a reality in a wide range of sectors, we are well-placed to input and contribute. Sparking conversations with new connections who are already working in this area is crucial to making our profession’s impact felt on these vital topics and I particularly enjoyed being able to speak to a number of parliamentarians from different parties and seeing a shared belief in the importance of a proper industrial strategy to tackle these problems head on. 

The role of chemical and process engineers in the transition towards achieving a sustainable world is pivotal, and it’s important that our external stakeholders recognise the national strategic importance of chemical and process engineering. This work will extend across many portfolios, and IChemE’s Policy and Impact team are looking forward to a very busy year working with key stakeholders, including government, to help shape these conversations to make sure that they reflect our profession’s crucial input. 

Our new connections continue with some exciting news due in the next few days about the next stage of our Hydrogen alliance with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). This follows months of hard work with a wide variety of stakeholders - watch this space for more. IChemE’s Hazards 34 conference (5-7 November 2024, Manchester, UK) will also strongly focus on the safety aspects of hydrogen applications, so make sure it’s in your diary.   

Turning closer to home, nominations for the Board of Trustees and Congress elections open on 12 March, so now’s the time to consider whether you would like to help set the strategic direction for IChemE. I can thoroughly recommend getting involved as volunteering for IChemE really is a two-way street: in exchange for sharing your time, knowledge and experience, you will gain many highly rewarding experiences in return. If you’d like to know more about what’s involved in these key roles, you can watch an insightful webinar featuring Professor Jonathan Seville FIChemE, Past President and Chair of the Succession Planning Committee, discussing the reciprocal benefits of becoming a Trustee or Congress member. 

The much-anticipated launch of IChemE Connect means that IChemE is now present wherever in the world our members are located. We’re all just a click of the mouse away from support and expert advice, as well as conversations, topic interactions, shared experiences, views and news. If you haven’t yet logged on, you should find an invitation email in your inbox, or you can activate your IChemE Connect profile from your IChemE account. I’m really enjoying seeing new conversations and connections taking place, and I think this will be a tremendously exciting platform for ICheme members. 

Chartered status was also seen to be playing a key role in career progression

The Chemical Engineer magazine will be dropping on your doorsteps from today (29 Feb) and amongst the usual superb collection of news and views there is a summary of the key findings of the 2023 IChemE Employment Survey. In addition to important salary data, the survey gathered some fascinating insights into career stage, gender dynamics and sectoral trends. Chartered status was reported as a pivotal factor for maximising salary earning capability, with Chartered members reporting £38k higher median earnings and over £6k higher annual bonuses than those who are not yet Chartered. The significance of Chartered status was also seen to be playing a key role in career progression for more than 58% of respondents. These insights are a valuable member benefit for chemical engineers navigating their career choices, and we will be using the data to relaunch the popular salary calculator in March.  

Mentoring is one of the most important career connections you can form, and the latest update from our career and development mentoring initiative is that the pilot phase is now underway, and we’ve started matching mentees with mentors. I’m encouraged to hear that we already have seven confirmed matches in the last week. This is promising news, so keep an eye out for a launch to the wider membership later in the year. 

Last - but absolutely not least - the world’s most prestigious chemical engineering awards have now opened for entries. I chaired the IChemE Global Awards judging panel for many years, and I was always inspired to discover so many splendid examples of how our incredibly talented profession is making ‘engineering a sustainable world’ a reality. The awards are free to enter, with teams and organisations of all sizes equally eligible to enter the spotlight, so I’d encourage you to submit your entries for this fantastic competition. The awards night is also a chance to share quality time with your colleagues, expand your professional network - and it’s always a night to remember! 

I welcome input from all our members, so as always, if you have any ideas or questions you would like to put to me, please send me an email to I look forward to hearing from you.

January 2024 - Continuing the journey

December 2023 - A seasonal message

November 2023 - Collaborations and conversations

October 2023 - To mentor or be mentored, everybody wins!

September 2023 - Engineering a sustainable world

August 2023 - Futureproofing the profession

July 2023 - The hard work starts now!

Image credit: Elspeth Keep