The Institution of Agricultural Engineers‘ (IAgrE) campaign to increase student membership, which began in 2001, has recruited over 2400 students, with just over 10% retaining membership once they have completed their studies. For most other institutions the average is 3%.
Dr Dan Mitchell, instigator of the campaign, said: “I have benefited from membership of IAgrE throughout my career and without it on my CV and the contacts made, life could have been very different.”
“For the Institution to continue to prosper we need the support, ideas and creativity of younger students and engineers during their early years. We want to be the natural choice for students engaged in agricultural engineering, providing links to appropriate levels of expertise,” said IAgrE Chief Executive Chris Whetnall.
Membership for students is free and subsidised by the Douglas Bomford Trust. IAgrE visits colleges and universities regularly to strengthen links with them and to date 17 colleges are academic members with IAgrE supporting events and open days.
To help raise the professional status of agricultural engineering, the IAgrE is also working towards attracting more lecturers and college principals to join. It also wants more colleges to become supporters of IAgrE membership.
The introduction of its Landbased Technician’s Accreditation (LTA) qualification scheme has also been a positive initiative to enhance links with employers – particularly machinery manufacturers and dealers and through this scheme new members have also been recruited.