Youthful role models (Day 17)

VolunteerIn the UK, we’ve just celebrated National Volunteers Week. It’s an annual celebration of the effort and dedication of millions of people who provide their time and expertise to help others and a whole host of causes.

It’s also a chance for organisations like IChemE to simply say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of chemical engineers that have, and are continuing to help advance chemical engineering worldwide.

I think engineers and voluntary work are natural partners. And when those volunteers are young engineers special things can happen.

One excellent example of an organisation harnessing the energy of the young is a charity called Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UK. It’s an international aid organisation, where young engineers can contribute directly to improving quality of life in places like Asia, Africa and Latin America.

We know many chemical engineers support the charity and they literally help build those things many of us take for granted – shelter, water and sanitation, alternative energy and communications.

EWB UK provides training, research, outreach and educational opportunities for engineering undergraduates, graduates and early career engineers. They also offer some fantastic placement opportunities, which currently include working on projects for up to 12 months in places like Uganda, Nepal, India, Borneo, Rwanda, Cameroon, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Gambia and Kenya. Quite an amazing programme of work.

If this has whetted your appetite EWB UK are hosting a conference on 28 June 2014 in London, UK. Called Massive Small Change Conference, it’s a one-day celebration of new ideas, perspectives and approaches in the engineering and international development sector. It will bring together leaders and innovators in engineering and development with inspiring talks and debates exploring the change engineering is bringing to the world.

And by the way. On behalf of IChemE’s Council and staff thank you to all IChemE members for your voluntary support over the past 12 months.