Gratitude and growth: celebrating CIBSE’s volunteers

More than 1,000 CIBSE volunteers are being celebrated for their passion and drive this Volunteers Week, recognised for their key role in everything from skills development to industry support

In 2022, research revealed that the combined value of volunteering added a staggering £18.7bn to the UK economy. Volunteers are a cornerstone of society, across a vast range of sectors, some of which rely more than others on volunteers. At CIBSE, we have more than 1000 incredible volunteers, who are fundamental to all the activities that the Institution undertakes.

According to the NCVO Time Well Spent survey in 2023, the top three reasons why people continue to volunteer are: the organisation to which they contribute or help; the difference they make; and their commitment to the cause.

There is a whole range of benefits that can be gained from volunteering. These all ring true when it comes to CIBSE volunteers – day in and day out, their passion and drive to bring about positive change in the building services engineering sector is evident.

The value of volunteering

A whole range of benefits can come from volunteering. Here are just a few that CIBSE volunteers have highlighted:

  • ‘Volunteering has brought new business relationships’
  • ‘My employer benefited from the knowledge that I gained’
  • ‘Knowledge sharing with colleagues’
  • ‘New skills learned’

We recognise that prospective volunteers may face barriers, such as a lack of time, or concerns about not having the right skills or experience.

However, CIBSE strives to make volunteering accessible to all. There are many different ways you can volunteer at CIBSE, all of which can be found on the website, and there is always someone available to answer questions if you are unsure about which opportunity may suit you best.

Day in and day out, CIBSE volunteers’ passion and drive to bring about positive change in the building services engineering sector is evident

While volunteers deserve recognition regularly for their efforts and contributions, the first week in June each year is Volunteers Week, which provides another good excuse to express thanks and highlight their work.

In 2023, the CIBSE networks delivered more than 360 events, which were attended by 10,500 members and non-members – but this is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to the impact that volunteer-delivered activity has had on the operations of CIBSE over the years.

This point in the calendar also marks the end of AGM season, during which hundreds of volunteers are elected or re-elected to committee positions across the network. It is also a time when many stand down from the positions they have held for several years, although some stay on as committee members to impart their knowledge and experience. We are incredibly grateful for their contributions over many years.

After 21 years of service, Geoff Prudence recently stepped down as chair of the Facilities Management (FM) Group. His vital contributions during this time, including the support of the production of Guide M, have helped further the development of best practice within FM. CIBSE extends a special thank you to Geoff for his dedication over the years.

As we bid farewell to some of our wonderful volunteers, we also welcome many new faces to our team. While knowledge and experience are vital, new ideas and fresh enthusiasm are also essential to paving a way into the future for the committees and ensuring succession planning.

How our volunteers feel about their volunteer experience is also extremely important – feedback is the only way that we can look at what needs to be changed to make things run more smoothly in the future. Testimonials from volunteers highlight the diverse benefits of volunteering, from skills development to giving back to the industry and  inspiring others.

Joe Russell, honorary secretary of the Society of Public Health Engineers (SoPHE), says: ‘Through experience with the YEN [Young Engineers Network], I have developed a lot of useful skills that I was able to apply during my EngTech and LCIBSE application, as well as my membership of SoPHE application. The roles I have carried out have allowed me to build experience towards the criteria  required for these professional recognitions.’

Dr Maria Spyrou, Energy Performance Group immediate past chair and committee member, says ‘giving back to the industry that made me who I am, and inspiring young people to do more with their careers and ambitions’ are what appealed most to her about volunteering. And Hakeem Makanju chair of the Minority Ethnic Groups Panel, volunteers to ‘make a difference, give back and help support CIBSE’s vision, as well as to act as a role model’.

As Volunteers Week 2024 draws to a close, CIBSE CEO Ruth Carter has extended her thanks to all the Institution’s volunteers for their vital contributions. ‘Our volunteers are fundamental to the work that CIBSE does, and the impact that we have,’ she says. ‘Whether it’s authoring publications, being involved in committees, judging awards, or being a STEM Ambassador, there are opportunities, no matter where you are in your career.’

We would like to thank all of those who during the 2024 AGMs have stepped down from their roles on committees and highlighted below are those who have stepped down as Committee Chairs:

Maria Syprou Energy Performance
Geoff Prudence Facilities Management
Steve Clifford Healthcare
Mary-Ann Clarke HVAC Systems
Andrew Wright School Design
Gavin Lane Young Energy Performance Group
Hakeem Makanju Home Counties South West
Gita Maruthayanar Home Counties North West
Jos Brownlie West Midlands
Gary Chiang Hong Kong
Phil Senn Australia and New Zealand
Pritpal Jandu Yorkshire
Peter Prentice Southern
Phillip Hilton-West North East
Austin  Williamson Home Counties North East
Paul McGreevy Northern Ireland
Peter White SoPHE
Andrew Krebs SDE
Scott Mason Patrons