Imperial College Engineer
Career planning on-line
Warwick Faville (Mech 1962) introduces a new Internet initiative for engineers
Do engineers plan their careers? Our training is such that one would imagine the answer should be yes, but it seems unlikely.
The average person probably has ten jobs during their career. Some will be with the same organisation, but it is now rare to meet someone who has not moved employment to a new organisation at some time. When at college I had a lecturer who presented a theory that the optimum time to move on was 10 to 15 percent of one's age. Five jobs back I was contemplating the greasy pole to the corporate heights, without having any conception that twenty plus years on I would be having a great time working for myself and with a network of colleagues. The job for life is no more and we are all probably better off for that.
On-line job sites are commercial entities
Now with the Internet there is a change in jobs marketing. The plethora of on-line web sites related to jobs and careers have had much press attention. Some seem to have a lot of good stuff while others are perhaps unscrupulous. However, the one thing they have in common is that they are commercial entities. They exist not for your benefit, but to make a profit. Even the engineering institutions with jobs information on their sites need to turn in figures in the black and serve members.
A stepping stone site
www.engineers.org.uk has involved a number of colleagues, but we all face the problem of limited time and money. There is little point in launching a web site without the ability to support it. The existing site shows some of the possibilities and receives of the order of 1,500 page views per month, but I would be totally overloaded if even a small proportion of the engineers seeking
information at any time made contact with me. There are just under 300,000 engineers registered with the Engineering Council and there are thought to be 600,000 who may be eligible for registration. Of the order of 10% may be looking at the job market at anyone time. The proposal is for what I call a stepping stone site -the majority of the site would try to point quickly to sources of information already available on the Internet. For example, who has visited Wolverhampton College's site showing universities in the UK?
Establishing a business model
The problem we face is to establish the business model. Ideally an .org.uk site is a not for profit. Thus it should be constituted as a charity and it should follow the requirements of the Charity Commission. If it were to be of any size it would ideally be a company limited by guarantee. The company exists and is waiting for use. There is also a bank account. But charity laws are rightly strict -the people holding the purse strings cannot earn money from the company, they can only recover expenses.