Last month, some of the Informals’ Committee attended an event in the Houses of Parliament to launch Professions Week (see our earlier post here). Speakers at the event stressed the importance of increasing awareness of the range and variety of potential employment options the professions have to offer. We were introduced to initiatives which help organisations to recruit people from a diverse range of backgrounds. In particular, we came across Inspiring the Future, a free service which sees people from all sectors and professions, from apprentices and trainees to CEOs and partners, pledging just one hour a year to visit local state schools and colleges to talk about their jobs, career and the education route they took.
CIPA and ITMA are working to increase awareness of (and access to) the IP professions. Andrea Brewster, Vice President of CIPA, is also leading a discussion in January to talk about diversity (or lack thereof) in the IP professions. With this in mind, I would like to encourage patent trainees (and qualified patent attorneys) to volunteer their time for the Inspiring the Future scheme. You could use your pledged hour(s) to, for example, highlight the value of studying STEM subjects, to introduce school pupils to patents and the patent profession, and to explain how exciting it is to work with new, cutting-edge technologies. At the Professions Week event, we learnt that only 46% of 14-18 year olds and 31% of 19-24 year olds had a careers advice conversation in the last 12 months which they considered useful (see full report here). Some of you may be able to relate to these statistics. By participating in an outreach scheme such as Inspiring the Future, you have the chance to provide young people with useful, practical advice about education routes and career options, as well as bring the patent profession to their attention.
If you are interested in the scheme, we recommend you sign-up as an “independent volunteer” and that you indicate in your profile that you are a member of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. This will allow the organisers to monitor how many patent attorney volunteers they have in their system.
Informals Honorary Secretary