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Finding a sponsor
The only actual requirement is that the person is a FIRSE or MIRSE.

It is clearly an advantage if:
  1. they know you- your attitude, character, knowledge, experience, aptitude for learning
  2. they are familiar with the IRSE Exam (many will not be, certainly not in its current form)
  3. they are within you line management chain so have some form of influence within the allocation of workload, provision of training and other support,
  4. they are accessible to you- you feel you can approach, ideally work sufficiently close that you can readily have a conversation when required.
The main problems seem to be:
  • that many prospective candidates may not work in a role where their line managers are F/MIRSE,
  • there is no easy way of finding out if those other people that they know are F/MIRSE,
  • certain people get a disproportional number of requests to act as sponsor which can overload them and thus detract from the extent they can support and also they receive requests from those where items 1-4 above do not apply.
The local IRSE sections could potentially do more to support students and prospective candidates.  However this doesn't seem to work for several reasons:
  • not many students / candidates attend these meetings,
  • not many of the established F/MIRSE are proactive in engaging such people in conversations over refreshments before / after such meetings.  This is perhaps understandable as they have their own social circle and people to take the chance to catch-up with at such informal gatherings to have conversations that would be much more difficult in a supplier / contractor / client / competitor environment.
I have always realised that the sponsor system could create difficulties in certain small companies (although conversely some of these are actually some of the best and easiest places to get support) and in the Indian sub-contractor companies for example, but n 2018 it has really struck home to me that it is a far wider problem within the industry as a whole.

It would be interesting to hear of the "trials and tribulations" of trying to find a sponsor from people who are currently facing this challenge or have recently overcome it

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