Recruitment for our programme is going well and we’re just starting to match engineers to groups. Lots of people have asked how this is going to work, and the answer is – we haven’t done this before! Here’s how we’re going about it.
For engineers who don’t already know what community group they want to work with, we’re encouraging them to think about what most motivates them and to look around in their local neighbourhood. Some of them really want to work on a particular type of building. They might be interested in the difficulties of adapting Victorian churches that were never intended to be brought to modern thermal requirements. Others want to be of service where they are most needed, so they might think about who is supporting the activities that really matter. Still others might be interested in the problem of investing in buildings that have the potential to be used more than they are at the moment, or in ones that are in good use, but urgently need to understand energy efficiency retrofitting.
We can provide materials for engineers to approach local groups, but once we understand what sparks their interests, we can also use our contacts to find the best groups for them. Since many community buildings in Britain are run by churches, church networks are an obvious way for us to do this. Their buildings support a wide range of activities – Scouts, community kitchens, food banks, dementia support groups, nurseries, yoga classes, and much more. They also tend to be helpful people and know what else is happening in their local communities. We also have good links with green networks. They have many of the same features!
For community groups seeking an engineer, the process will be different. We’re encouraging them to think about who they know in their local area that they could ask. There are engineers all over and many people interested in the challenge this programme presents. We’re also asking them to provide a couple of photos and a short description so that we and our partners, Engineers without Borders UK, can use social media to search for engineers in their area. Beyond that, we can approach local business that employ engineers and professional bodies, plus green and church networks are also useful for this. The approach can be very individual if that’s what’s required – it’s all about what both sides need.