An Application Guide to the Institution of Structural Engineers Technician Membership

Superstructures Structural Technician Chris Coleman has recently been elected to a Technician member of the Institution of Structural Engineers. Here is his guide to the application process.

Following the completion of my Foundation Degree in May 2015 I was keen to achieve my first industry qualification. Since we specialise in structural engineering at Superstructures I applied to the Institution of Structural Engineers, with the aim of becoming a Technician member.

I found the application process to be extensive, yet also a valuable experience. Due to the specialist nature of structural engineering, I found it difficult to find sources of advice regarding the Technician membership application process. Therefore, I hope my advice will be of some use to future Technician applicants of the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Step 1 – Application

The first step is to determine your eligibility. You either need to hold a recognised academic or vocation qualification, or have relevant industry experience. If you are in doubt regarding your eligibility it’s best to contact the Institution directly or refer to their guidance here.

To successfully submit an application you need to complete the following documents:

Form TM – This is a standard application form, which can be downloaded from the Institution’s website.

12 Objectives – These objectives give you a chance to explain why you believe you meet the desired criteria. The length of each objective should roughly be two A4 pages and the subjects range from structural analysis and design to management skills. Again, these can be downloaded from the Institution’s website and further guidance is provided in the IPD regulations document. It is important to be aware that there are different routes in which your objectives can be completed. For more information about these routes click here.

Experience Report – This is a two page report, detailing the experience you have gained whilst working within the industry. In essence, it is a more comprehensive version of a CV.

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Portfolio 

A little while after the above application has been submitted, two copies of your portfolio has to be sent to your regional group. I prepared my portfolio at the same time I was writing my objectives. This enabled me to easily cross reference between the two, as well as identify areas of weakness I felt I could improve upon. I provided written commentary throughout my portfolio to highlight the relevance of the evidence I was providing.

I recommend to be cautious and allow more than enough time to compile a portfolio of work. At times I had to search through university assignments to find relevant documents, or search through emails to find relevant communications. This was very time consuming and is not be underestimated.

Interview

The interview is one hour in length, which includes a 15 minute informal presentation, as explained by the Institution of Structural Engineers here. The 15 minute presentation was an opportunity to explain all of my experience within the industry, including activities and responsibilities. To an extent, this took the form of an informal chat rather than a presentation, so do not concentrate all your efforts on nailing a perfect presentation.

The questions I was asked were based on my portfolio of work and additional documents I bought to the interview. Therefore, I would recommend you choose and bring project documentation that you are very familiar with. To demonstrate I had the experience of a Technician member, I was expected to understand and describe the basic requirements of all structural elements and solutions detailed on the documents, even if I was not responsible for the detailed design of the elements in question.

Summary

In summary, I’m very pleased that I have successfully completed the above application process. For someone whose aim is to progress onto further membership levels, this experience has provided a valuable insight into the application process. I believe I can enter the next membership application stage with considerably more confidence because of this.

(For more information regarding Technician membership, refer to the Institution of Structural Engineers’ website).