From Futureintech to Engenerate and local branches to the Governing Board, there are plenty of ways to volunteer with IPENZ. Avik Halder MIPENZ, is one of the engineers who gives a lot – and gains a lot.

Based in: Nelson
Role: Technical Development Leader – Water & Waste, MWH
Education: MSc Engineering Geology, Leeds University, 1995; B.Eng Mining Engineering, Leeds University, 1994

“I was attracted to the engineering profession by the diversity of the career. It sounds a bit of a cliché but no two days are the same – you’re always learning, always having new experiences. Engineering’s also given me the opportunity to work around the world. I started with MWH in the UK. MWH is a global company so I had the chance to relocate to New Zealand.

“This is the start of my fourth year on the Nelson-Marlborough Branch committee. I was elected Chair last year and have recently been re-elected. I really enjoy being part of a team and getting a good insight into what engineers do here. We cover quite a diverse geography. It’s given me really good exposure to the different types of engineering disciplines in the region; the experience, expertise and passion that the engineers have for wanting to make a difference. I’m also the regional representative for the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) in Nelson and Blenheim and on the industry advisory committee for Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

“When I was coming through the ranks and developing as an engineer, I had lots of good people around me; mentors who were happy to share their knowledge. You get to a stage in your career where you recognise there were lots of people who helped you get to where you are. If you then have opportunities to share your experiences and pass on some of your knowledge to others, then you’re continuing the overall development of the profession. I do that by working closely with the local Engenerate branch, students and local schools.

“In the Nelson-Marlborough Branch, we work together as a committee. We’re pretty good at sharing the workload. I enjoy doing this work;  otherwise I wouldn’t do it. You get peaks and troughs and, like with everything, you have to manage as best you can to strike a balance.

Volunteering broadens your network. It helps raise not only your own personal profile but also the profile of your employer or company. I’ve built up good relationships with a lot of the engineers in the region, including clients. My company is very supportive of me, which makes a big difference.

“Running the Branch is certainly a team effort; it’s not a case of you stick your hand up and get overwhelmed with things to do. There’s an understanding that it’s voluntary and people have day jobs. But volunteering gives you an opportunity to get involved and have some direct influence on the things you want to see happen. That’s generally a good way to build momentum and get others involved as well.”