The Professional Engineers Training Scheme (PETS) within the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) helps students to develop a wide skill set, including competencies in areas outwith their PhD research. As part of this scheme, students take part in a wide variety of activities including school outreach events, industry focussed networking events and seminars, monthly CDT knowledge exchange talks, organisation of the CDT’s annual conference (futureWind&Marine), as well as various training opportunities in project and risk management.
The scheme is overseen by the PETS Committee, a body of 10 CDT students elected each year at the PETS AGM. The PETS committee is integral to the students’ experience while at the CDT. As well as organising and running the above activities for CDT students, the PETS committee ensures that there is cohesion across cohorts and institutions, organising social events and implementing a buddy system between cohorts. The committee members also act as student representatives, liasing with and giving feedback to CDT management, and vice versa.
Being elected to a role on the PETS Committee is valuable because it allows students to influence how the CDT is run; it also offers unique opportunities to gain chartership competencies in areas which would normally be difficult to obtain in a research environment, such as team management and leadership skills.
The students in the PETS Committe roles for 2020/21 are as follows:
The chair of the Professional Engineers Training Scheme (PETS) is ultimately responsible for the effective running of the activities carried out by the PETS Committee. The Chair facilitates and ensures that each committee member is able to achieve their voluntarily set targets in the year they spend in the role, and provides help where necessary.
Some of the responsibilities of the Chair include:
- Chairing PETS meetings, PETS-CDT Management meetings and the PETS AGM,
- Representing the CDT student body at Industrial Advisory Board meetings,
- Ensuring CDT students are kept up-to-date with PETS activities and maintaining engagement within these activities,
- Representing the CDT student body in welcoming new cohorts,
- Providing a link between CDT students and staff to ensure there is an effective communication channel for feedback between the two.
The role itself provides a CDT student with a great opportunity to develop their leadership, communication and project management skills. Every year, the Chair - with the rest of the committee – is relatively free to take the PETS activities in the direction they feel will add value to the CDT and provide students with the best possible training and experience upon graduation.
The role of secretary and treasurer is a joint role. The secretary ensures communication between society members and when necessary all CDT students and staff. The treasurer looks after the PETS budget for the year.
The CPD Coordinator role involves keeping track of the CDT students’ CEng and CPD progress through organising the biannual CPD reviews, arranging training events to strengthen students’ weaker competence areas and providing students with mentors. It also involves keeping contact with the IMechE and IET institutions to maintain our visibility in the industry and ensure we keep the highest standard of quality in the scheme for continued accreditation of the PETS program.
The communications coordinator is the main port of call between the CDT and the outside world. A key aspect is effectively communicating the research and activities that the students undertake with a wide range of audiences. The role involves looking after and updating the website with the latest information, including student profiles and blog posts. The role also involves posting regular updates to the CDT’s social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram) with news from within the CDT. In addition, the communications coordinator collates CDT news and upcoming events to circulate within the CDT to staff and students in a monthly newsletter.
The outreach coordinator schedules STEM events for communities that are interested in the renewable energy field. In the past this has mostly included planning with school/group leaders and running the activities. The activities introduce groups of school children to practical engineering challenges that build interest while also covering the basics of renewables. The role also aims to improve the CDT’s interaction with adult groups. Recently, the role has included pooling resources to provide online STEM opportunities that enable the CDT to reach new groups.
The Social Coordinator is responsible for organising monthly 'Friday talks' comprising presentations from academia & industry, as well as social events throughout the year for CDT students. Also responsible for matching incoming students with a suitable 3rd year student as a 'buddy', who will provide guidance & support throughout the first year.
The futureWind&Marine chair is responsible for organising an annual one-day conference showcasing CDT research and activities. All final year PhD students are invited to present their research, while first and second year PhD students present posters of their ongoing research. futureWind&Marine has been growing year-on-year since its inception and now attracts close to 200 delegates from academia and industry. The role of chair includes organising sponsorship for the conference, coordinating presentations and managing the practical running of the event.
As 1st year rep, my main role is to help make the first year of the CDT as good as it can be. I'm responsible for voicing any concerns of 1st year students to both the PETS committee and CDT management, as well organising student feedback for all of the taught modules. I'm here to help, and always open to suggestions on how I can do better. Please email me if you have anything you want to chat about!
The Edinburgh Representative is there to speak for the CDT community at Edinburgh, ensuring that management and the PETS committee are aware of and able to help out with any issues. The role also presents an opportunity coordinate Edinburgh based PETS activities, such as Friday talks and outreach. And of course organise social events for the community.
The Oxford representative makes sure that the students based in Oxford have a voice in the running of the CDT by attending PETS meetings and consulting with students. The representative also helps with transitions to and from different universities throughout the CDT and keeps the students connected by organising an Oxford-based social event every year.