CHAIN:18 Write Up

More than 100 engineers and students attended the CHAIN 2018 event on Saturday 10th February 2018 to watch professional presentations from engineering organisations covering such a large range of engineering disciplines. 11 organisations gave a presentation all of which were very interesting.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), the Nuclear Institute (NI) and the Institution of Diesel and Gas Turbine Engineers (IDGTE) gave presentations in the morning which I was unable to view. This was very unfortunate because I received brilliant feedback about every single one of them. Credit goes to each of the following speakers, Peter Fenn (IET), Hania Mohiuddin (RAeS), Mark Cornforth (IDGTE) and Dr Deborah Hill (NI).

I was however fortunate to have the opportunity to watch the remaining presentations in the afternoon which I thoroughly enjoyed as there was so much variety of interesting engineering topics which were presented.

Chris Waters gave a very enjoyable presentation on behalf of the European Young Engineers (EYE) society. The EYE presents young engineers great opportunities to develop their soft skills by enabling them to learn more about the various cultures of Europe. The EYE also offers engineers from all the countries of Europe to network together every year at their annual Gala dinner. EYE also offers help, advice and support to engineers who wish to work in another European country. It was stressed that English speaking engineers are of very high demand all over Europe.

The Manchester Association of Engineers had a presentation on the important topic of safety which was run by Allan Mann. He gave a large range of very gripping examples of unforgettable accidents which occurred over the last 50 years. The consequences of these accidents really did help you to understand the importance of good health and safety practices during engineering design and maintenance works in order to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. Allan raised the serious point that Companies and governments only seem to put real safety measures in place after the accident has occurred.

Chris Goodwin gave a very interesting presentation for the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) explaining that Structural engineers can design, repair and construct so many types of structures ranging from just someone’s house to large tower blocks, bridges to even Nuclear Power plants. Chris covered the range of famous buildings which he had designed, one of which was the recently completed cinema complex in Stockport known as The Redrock.

Iain Miskimmin from Construction Opportunities for Mobile IT (COMIT) gave a fantastic presentation on new and emerging technologies which can be utilised for collecting data to help engineers “make good decisions” prior to construction. He covered 3d modelling software and how it can be used to save Companies lots of cash and time by enabling designers to pick up vital data at the early design stages. It was interesting to learn that drones can be a cost effective method utilised nowadays to collect data

Staff Sergeant Babs Vinden-Cantrell gave a talk on behalf of the Royal Engineers to make young engineers aware that there a lot of fantastic engineering opportunities available at the Royal Engineers Reserve Unit. She explained that their works cover consultancy, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, military support and even support for civilian organisations around the world.

Dr David Ball from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) gave a very inspirational talk on how he kept his Gearbox manufacturing Company alive during a number of recessions. His Company had performed very well in the 1970s but suddenly sales input reduced 40% at the start of the 1980s recession. Things were looking gloomy. Some of his staff were even being made redundant. David however managed to turn it around by meeting with organisations from other industries he thought could benefit from his gearbox Manufacturing Company. He was very successful in this strategy only to be faced with another recession in the 1990s. Since he had however managed to successfully diversity his gearbox manufacturing capabilities to such a wide range of different industries, his Company not only survived, but also managed to make very lucrative profits. He explained that the demand for his gearboxes from the Lift industry helped his Company through the recessions.

Katie Goode and Jonathan Han from The Institution of Civil Engineers made a very lively presentation on “How Civil Engineers Have Shaped The World”. Their presentation was very interactive with the audience. They set up a series of exciting quizzes which involved guessing which famous engineering structures or famous civil engineers were shown on the screens. Prizes were literally thrown out to people who successfully shouted out the correct answers. There were dozens of famous structures and building shown on this presentation and I really felt that I’d learned about some very influential achievements by Civil Engineers throughout the last 200 years.

In fact I had learned so much from all of the above presentations and I also had the opportunity to meet some very innovate and interesting engineers. I sincerely hope that the CHAIN event can be organised again for next year and continue to be run for the years to come as it’s a great event for encouraging young students to pursue a career in engineering. The students of today will be shaping the future of our world and I believe that the CHAIN event will be a good influence for them.


Lewis Fung MEng CEng MIET

Young Members IET Committee Treasurer (Manchester Network)