Since joining the team that supports the development of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession, I have been amazed by how big and diverse the profession is.
The profession is made up of over 10,000 civil servants with either a background in science and engineering or an interest in it. They perform a wide range of different functions and work in offices, labs and fields all over the UK. I have met people who explore how distributed ledgers could improve public services, scientists who assess new patent applications and engineers who investigated the Alton Towers rollercoaster accident.
Being big and diverse are strengths but can also make it harder to work together efficiently, communicate with one another and demonstrate the excellent work that they do for the rest of government.
A science and engineering roadtrip
We are producing a strategy to help the profession raise its profile and work more effectively for government. The strategy will explain the profession's offer to government over the next five years, and outline development opportunities and career path support available to members.
To make the strategy relevant and useful, we want to make sure that it reflects the widest possible range of voices from across GSE. So, a few months ago, we set off on a UK-wide road trip of 12 different locations, from London to Glasgow to Cardiff, to collect members’ ideas through workshops.
One of the first workshops we did was at Prospect Union's Annual Conference in Bournemouth. We spent an hour asking attendees to think about solutions for a selection of challenges. For example, we asked them questions like: How can we ensure that government scientists and engineers are recognised appropriately? What kind of continuous professional development opportunities does GSE need?
We were thrilled to receive over 100 individual suggestions at that workshop. Now, having travelled over 4,500 miles and conducted 14 workshops, we have gathered even more.
It’s still early days in our analysis but we are excited about the solutions emerging. Check back here in the autumn to find out more.
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