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Be inclusive or die
The supply chain needs to become more integrated, and
CIBSE can help by promoting trainee secondments
across the industry, argues Paul Wenden
any of the young engineers that work in how Fläkt Woods approaches the challenges posed by
my organisation are working towards the services design engineers and contractors.
chartered status with predominately Unfortunately though, this scheme does not have a
mechanical or electrical institutions. reciprocal arrangement, and for it to be truly successful
When I ask whether they had considered CIBSE as I believe it should. Product design engineers and those
a route for professional membership, the response involved with building services consultants would
is generally, “but CIBSE is only for building services greatly benefit from a period spent within the designer
consultants, not manufacturers” – which is a shame as environment – extending the knowledge of how and
these young engineers are developing, designing and why things are the way they are
manufacturing the next generation of building service and feeling more integrated with
products. the whole supply chain.
To get
CIBSE has to increase the variety of people who I’m sure there are equivalent ad
participate in our community, as they offer the hoc arrangements with other like-
opportunity to tap into a rich pool of talent, bring in minded companies, but I would
teams, we need
new voices, experiences and approaches, and add depth propose that CIBSE promotes
to existing skills and ideas. such schemes to all members,
integrated organisations,
On further investigation it appears that organisations and involves the CIBSE Patrons
and we must expand
such as IMechE promote secondments and placements in developing a framework with
across various businesses to expand experience and businesses. I’m sure that they
secondments between
knowledge. I suggest that by harnessing the energy would welcome the opportunity
and enthusiasm of our active CIBSE young engineers’ to have more input, building the
networks – and using the industry links available foundations of a comprehensive
through organisations such as the CIBSE Patrons – we collaborative partnership.
could well develop similar, more effective schemes. As a first step, Fläkt Woods can expand secondments
Likewise, by not being positive in broadening the by offering them to others, to CIBSE members, to
scope of engineers from a variety of backgrounds, our CIBSE Patrons, and in turn these organisations could
organisation is in danger of becoming introverted, with reciprocate, helping us all to build bridges and creating
a membership that is increasingly becoming exclusively a greater understanding of each others’ strengths.
the domain of building services design engineers, and To get integrated teams, we need integrated
seen as unapproachable by manufacturers. organisations. Not only should we expand these
Fortunately, there are many ways we can become secondments between trainee professionals from
more inclusive and I hope by writing this piece we can different sectors – from engineers to architects to
start a debate and attract even more suggestions. contractors to manufacturers – we should more boldly
One idea is to expand a highly successful scheme that expand involvement among the various sector trade
Fläkt Woods has been running for many years, hosting bodies and organisations. Greater inclusion can only
young Arup graduate engineers just starting out on their expand opportunities available to CIBSE, helping it to
careers. It is a long-standing arrangement and has been reach more potential members, increasing its profile
highly popular. Three or four students at a time come and building support for what it is doing. l
to visit the company for two weeks, with one week at its
main air handling unit factory in Jönköping, Sweden, and
Paul Wenden is engineering and product management director
one in the modern fan manufacturing facility in the UK. at Fläkt Woods. He is also president of both the Heating,
This helps them see how the manufacturing industry
Ventilating and Air Conditioning Manufacturers Association,
and the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations
works, and gives them a technically-based overview of
22 CIBSE Journal July 2009
CIBSEjul09 pp22 opinion wenden.indd 22 25/6/09 15:17:10
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