The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Volunteer – Karl Luck

by | Oct 30, 2020 | Articles, News

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Karl completed a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1982.

He spent much of his early career working for the military, including as an electrical engineer on board various Royal Navy vessels around the world, followed by a design and procurement role in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Chief Electrical Engineer positions at Foster Wheeler and Snamprogetti came next, after which he joined WSP to head up its Power Systems team. In February 2019 he became Design Director at
Future Tech SCI Ltd, where he is the Technical Lead on critical infrastructure for data centres.

Personal development journey

Karl had joined the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) as an undergraduate. While working at the MoD in Bath, UK, he decided to become an IEE volunteer – this marked the start of a personal development journey.

“I was quite introverted when I was younger and am a bit of a technical bon, to be honest,” he said. “Joining my local IEE Young Members Section denitely forced me out of my comfort zone: I got actively involved in planning and hosting events, which really boosted my self-condence. I progressed through the ranks and ended up as Chair.”

This volunteer experience enabled Karl to develop a range of leadership, motivational, communication and teamwork skills that have served him well throughout his career.

Maintaining high standards

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After moving out of the Bristol area and into a challenging new job role, Karl put his volunteer activities on hold. In 2012, becoming an IET Fellow was the spark that re-ignited his passion for volunteering.

“I felt that the time was right,” he said. “I was leading a multi-disciplinary team of around 40 engineers and we were finding it difficult to source new recruits with the requisite knowledge and skills for heavy power. I wanted to give back to engineering by helping to maintain high standards across the industry. I also wanted to help develop people, by bringing them into the industry.”

Karl returned to volunteering as an IET Professional Development Accreditation Assessor. Working as part of a panel, he was responsible for assessing training programmes and awarding IET accreditation to those that demonstrated the provision of top-level learning, accompanied by support for professional development and career progression.

It’s a role he continues to enjoy: “I have had quite a varied career. By sharing my own experience, I can help broaden their engineering horizons and highlight potential opportunities.”

In 2014 Karl took things to the next level when he became a member of the IET Professional Development Operations Committee (PDOC), which reports to the IET Registration and Standards Committee. “My role involved visiting companies to assess their graduate and training schemes, to make sure they complied with the requirements of the Engineering Council,” he said.

Five years later, he took up a further assessment role: IET Fellowship Assessor. “Two Fellowship panel members and the Chair assess each candidate’s application to check that it meets the necessary criteria. It’s very interesting, especially because it’s not restricted to engineers – it covers all disciplines.”

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Investing time and effort

The IET’s three core values underpin all Karl’s volunteer activities: “Integrity is a big part of it because as volunteers we represent one of the world’s oldest professional institutions. We strive for excellence in everything we do. And teamwork is essential on IET assessment panels – we all rely on each other to make sure we have covered all the bases.”

Karl believes firmly that in life, you don’t get something for nothing: you have to invest time and eort in order to reap rewards.
Future Tech SCI generously gives Karl an additional week’s leave each year to carry out his IET volunteering activities. “On average, I spend around 15 days a year across my various volunteer roles, so the extra ve days from my employer are a big help,” he said. “I make up the difference in the evenings and at weekends. If I’ve used up my allowance, I’ll take annual leave to carry out assessment visits.

“My advice to any would-be volunteers is to immerse yourself in volunteering and do as much as you can. There’s a lot of staff support available from the IET, as well as training. And there are opportunities to meet up with other volunteers, to share experiences and best practice.

“I’ve been an IET Industrial Representative for around 20 years, first at WSP and now at Future Tech SCI. I provide a link between the company and the IET. It’s all about promoting the IET and its opportunities to the workforce, as well as providing feedback from the company to the IET as part of a continuous improvement loop.”

A source of great pride

One of Karl’s favourite volunteer roles is that of Professional Registration Advisor (PRA). “Candidates for professional registration contact me at any stage of their career,” he said. “It could be a case of giving advice to a new graduate on what to do next. Or I could be supporting someone who’s been in the industry for 15 years and wants to attain Chartered or Incorporated Engineer status. Each candidate is unique and needs a tailored response from me.

“Most of the PRA role is done online these days. Candidates who are preparing to submit a registration form will send it to me for review. I give them advice on any gaps in their application and any wording they should rephrase. If I think they are not yet ready or are applying for the wrong registration category, I always tell them.

“It’s a source of great pride to me when I learn that a candidate whom I have advised through the Professional Registration process has been successful.”

To discover more about the IET and the opportunities available, you can discover them here: