The new president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will use his year-long term of office to champion the professionalism of engineers and technicians in a bid to improve skills, ethics and competency across the engineering and technology sector.
Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, vice-chancellor and president at the University of Westminster, who became the 138th president of the IET on the 1 October 2019, hopes to eliminate bad practice in the industry and demonstrate to society that engineers and technicians are trusted to create solutions to global issues, such as sustainability and a digital future.
To ensure this, Bonfield has kick-started his year as IET president by launching a concordat to help organisations show their commitment to valuing their engineers and ethical practices. So far 53 engineering and technology companies have pledged their support and signed up to the concordat, including BAE Systems, BT, Cundall, Mott MacDonald Limited, Network Rail and Schneider Electric UK.
Bonfield explained: “I’ve always felt very passionate about the role that engineering, technology and science can have in transforming lives and in protecting society through collaboration, teamwork, innovation and creativity – and engineers and technicians are integral to this, having made major contributions to making people safe. But I’ve also seen instances where things have gone wrong, so we need to make sure our registered professionals are competent and can be trusted to do the right thing. We’ve got to make sure our engineers and technicians are properly valued and invested in by their employers.”
In his inaugural president’s address, which took place on 23 October at IET London: Savoy Place, Bonfield explored and expanded on his theme ‘A new future for engineers’ and explained how this shapes what he hopes to achieve during his presidential term.
Bonfield previously worked as chief executive for the Building Research Establishment Group of companies who conduct multi-disciplinary research, training and education in the built environment sectors in the UK and around the world. He has also conducted four independent reviews for UK government. He was awarded an OBE for services to research and innovation in the construction industry.