IOP announces award winners for Best Practice in Professional Development

6 August 2013

Three organisations that employ physicists are to receive awards for Best Practice in Professional Development from the IOP - EDF Energy, the Hewett School in Norwich, and Sellafield Ltd. The Institute makes the awards annually to commend and celebrate the best in training and professional development opportunities for physicists.

The winners were selected by a panel of the IOP’s Professional Standards Committee and the awards will be presented to representatives of the employers at the Institute’s annual awards dinner on 15 November.

The panel judged the entries against a number of criteria, including the structures and processes that employers had in place to promote professional development. They also commended particular examples of good practice shown by each organisation:

EDF Energy logo

EDF Energy had a comprehensive accreditation programme for its EDF Energy Graduate Scheme, which showed high level management commitment, the panel said. The company’s Technical Foundation Training Scheme and its appointment of a person to co-ordinate chartership issues across each technical discipline were also “worthwhile initiatives”. It had personal development plans for each staff member, which showed that the human resources community had bought into technical development for professional physicists, it said. The opportunity for staff to take part in the World Nuclear University and the Young Generation Network were also “excellent”.

Hewett School, Norwich

Hewett School, Norwich was the first school in recent times to submit an application for an award, when most applicants were large corporations or industrial organisations with signficant resources available for professional development, the panel said. The school’s application showed not only the work that had been done in developing teaching staff at all levels, but also where the impact of sound professional development had been felt. This included improving examination results and increased participation of girls in physics. Professional development was taken seriously for the benefit not only of staff but also for the young students, the panel said.

Sellafield Ltd

Sellafield Ltd focused professional development on all employees, among whom high achievers could be nominated for a “talent pool”; graduate members of staff; and local sixth-form leavers who might become technical specialist trainees at the company. The panel commended the appointment of a mentor for such trainees and for aspiring chartered professionals, as well as the involvement of senior physicists in the IOP’s chartership panels and Accreditation of Company Training Schemes system. Having dedicated training co-ordinators for different areas and a leadership coach for senior managers was “excellent”, the panel said, while setting out a science, environment and technology career path in addition to well-established financial management roles was a “vote of confidence in physics”.

The IOP’s head of membership development, Stephanie Richardson, said: “These are prestigious awards that are really valued by employers of physicists and, as nominations usually come from the employees themselves, we know that the winners are genuinely committed to the employment and development of physicists.”

Nominations for next years’ awards will open in spring 2014. Look out for details on the IOP’s website or e-mail if you would like to be notified nearer the time.

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