The importance of learning from other engineers

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In Events, CPD

Sir Denis Rooke

Article by Neil Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM)

Imagine, if you will, three bakers. One makes the most delicious, light sponge – airy and moist, just the right amount of chewy. Baker number two is the artistic one, making breath-taking decorations. And the final baker can make a decent dessert, but has zero business sense.

Unfortunately, as individuals, they are dreadful bakers. Baker number one makes appetising (but hideous) cakes. Baker number two’s creations look like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – and taste like it too. And baker number three, well… he only opens on Thursday mornings. A good cake, like many things in life, requires a multitude of different skills. Indeed, for any professional, a lifetime of practice, experimentation and shared learning is the real secret of success.

Wise engineers know that it’s not possible to stay at the top of your game if you’re not constantly learning from each other, developing your knowledge and abilities and honing best practice.

At IGEM, we understand the importance of sharing, whether that’s knowledge, expertise or simply our time and effort. We relish the opportunity to learn from each other whenever we can, which is why we are inviting CIPHE members to join us free of charge at our next major industry event.

Our Sir Denis Rooke Memorial Lecture is the seminal event of our calendar and in the past has attracted the most prominent of speakers to share with us their wisdom and experience. This year, we are proud to announce that Dame Judith Hackitt will deliver the 2019 lecture following her exemplary leadership in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the fire at Grenfell Tower killed 72 people on 14 June 2017. The government subsequently commissioned Dame Judith to produce an independent review of building regulations and fire safety. The Hackitt review was published in May 2018 and contained 53 recommendations to government and the industry to improve standards and safety.

Following the review, Dame Judith has been working to support the 100% Hackitt initiative, which brings together those who want to see a cultural change in the construction sector to promote safety and public trust.

Part of that cultural change is about getting engineers out of their comfort zones. During the lecture, Dame Judith will draw on her extensive experience as an engineer, as Chair of HSE and from her recent review to challenge all engineers to think and act more collaboratively. She wants us all to look beyond our own narrow disciplines, to learn important lessons and embrace the challenges of the future for everyone’s benefit.

This really is a rare opportunity for anyone working in gas, heating, plumbing, building services and construction to learn from a formidable figure in the industry.

Come and join us at the Sir Denis Rooke Memorial Lecture and help us learn from you, as you learn from us. Together, CIPHE and IGEM can make one hell of a cake.

The Sir Denis Rooke Memorial Lecture takes place on 20 March at The King’s Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, in London and is free to CIPHE members.

To book your place email or visit