IChemE Engages in project fear

If you’re a member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers

you’ll probably have heard about the EGM that’s taking place on 5th January with a vote of no confidence in the current President and Council of the IChemE as the motion.

You will also have seen a remarkable (and surely not coincidental) ramp-up in communications from the Institution – as I write this I have had four emails in five days.

The basic tenets of the motion against the Institution can be read in the attached. The response from the IChemE seems very similar to the Remain campaign during the Referendum;

those in charge do a great job, we’re looking at ways of changing and improving so let us get on with doing that, a No Confidence vote could leave us in a state of limbo and lead to a period of uncertainty.

And the most nonsensical reason –

we might lose our Royal Charter!

Welcome to Project Fear IChemE style.

If you want to read more about the arguments in support of the motion of no confidence then LinkedIn is a good place to start. I saw a recent article from Malcolm Harrison, former Chief Process Engineer at Foster Wheeler and someone I know quite well. He was certainly in favour of “shaking the tree” a little.

And that’s where I sit.

In my opinion, the IChemE is appalling value for money. I get very little for my £314 subscription per year – a monthly magazine that, in today’s 24-hour-news world is always out of date,  full of articles on R&D, sustainability, green initiatives, save the polar bears and let’s castigate those who (like me) work in Oil, Gas, Coal and nuclear.

OK, I get to put the letters after my name – but I worked damn hard for that. I get to join ONE subject group for free (others I have to pay for) – for what benefit I’m really not sure since many of them appear to have been dormant for years.

In today’s world of online forums, LinkedIn and Facebook groups I can chat to people and learn more than I could ever want to know for free, and offer advice to younger engineers when they ask. That you should have to pay more to join any of these SIGs is probably why they are largely defunct.

So which way am I going to vote?  Well it won’t surprise you to know that I’ll be voting in favour of the Motion of No Confidence for another taste of populism and in an attempt to get the IChemE to start providing value for money. Since they have an absolute monopoly in this arena let’s hope they listen.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.