Victoria Hero

What if every project you undertook was unique?

Victoria Critchlow is the IET’s Project Portfolio and Coordination Manager, a role that sits within the organisation’s Finance and Planning department.

"Before the IET I'd never stayed anywhere for more than two years - I've now been here for nine!”

Her job is to manage project requests, validating them against the IET’s strategy and vision, and prioritising them accordingly.

“It’s a strategic development role, where I’m conceptualising and asking questions. Why should we do this project? What will the organisation gain from it? Does it fit with our vision of who we are and where we want to be? I look at the value of each project to the IET and make sure it’s the right thing to be doing,” she explains.

This often means Victoria is looking several years ahead, considering how the pieces of the puzzle will come together to realise the organisation’s vision for the future.

“The IET has a 2030 strategy, and I’m looking to prioritise projects that will meet that strategy, and ensure we have the resources and specialists needed. For example, perhaps we know that in a few years’ time we want to undertake a specific piece of work. We don’t know exactly how that will manifest yet, but we do know it will require C++ coding. I’ll check if we have those skills in-house and if we don’t then I’ll factor in a need to upskill staff or look at recruitment.”

Career progression

Victoria has spent almost a decade working for the IET, starting out in what she calls “doing roles”. “I joined as an Academic Account Manager and I’d be out on the road, then I moved into project management: another ‘doing’ role as I’d be hands-on managing the timelines and finances. This latest role is a move away from action towards thinking and planning,” she says.

Throughout her time at the organisation, she’s been supported in her professional development, with the IET funding courses that enabled her to move into project management, and later strategy.

“I’ve been able to gain a crazy number of qualifications through the IET including PRINCE2 and AgilePM. I completed an Agile Business Analyst course and was also put on a women's leadership development programme. I’ve found the IET’s support incredibly valuable in my career.” 

Varied and one-of-a-kind projects

However, what she enjoys most about working at the IET is the variety of work she’s involved in.

“I enjoyed taking on a fresh project, seeing it through and then moving onto something new. With my latest role, I love having the opportunity to look across the whole organisation, which is really exciting.

“I just can’t think of many other organisations where you’d have the same variety of projects. They might be web-based, focused on workflow development or creating new systems or products. And the scale can vary too. One might be a simple, £25,000 project, while the next could be a massive multi-million-pound job. So yeah, my work’s been really varied!”

A supportive employer

Before the IET, Victoria had never stayed with one employer for more than two years, but this year marked her ninth anniversary as an IET employee.

“I stayed because you get more opportunity to take on new challenges or progress your career than you might elsewhere,” she says. “There’s also a sense of belonging and doing something for the greater good because it’s a professional body.

“There’s a real sense of wellbeing, particularly since the pandemic, which has enabled the IET to shine as a good employer. There’s been a lot of understanding and focus on staff wellbeing during these tough times,” she points out.

“The IET’s also great when it comes to flexible working,” she continues. “After maternity leave, I requested condensed hours to enable me to work around childcare and my wife’s shift patterns. Now my son’s started school, I’ve tweaked my hours again so I can do the drop-offs and pick-ups. I’ve felt incredibly supported.”