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Continuing professional development

Why is it important for a civil engineer to be chartered?

Becoming chartered is recognition of what you have become - a professional, competent civil engineer. It is not just about being good at your work - it is wider than that - it demonstrates an understanding of the social, moral and ethical aspects of what you do and why you do it.

What should be expected of a professional civil engineer?

In addition to exercising professional judgement, civil engineers should be able to apply innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in solving problems. They should be able to maintain a good balance between developing analytical or design concepts and methods of implementation, to lead interdisciplinary teams that include technological or commercial specialists, and to manage complex projects commercially, technologically and organisationally.

How does one become chartered?

To become a civil engineer you will need to have completed an accredited three or four year MEng degree or equivalent, and then to have entered a period of training - ideally under a formal training agreement. This comprises intellectually challenging and technically complex work experience. From this the individual develops competences which are subsequently assessed at professional review.

To become a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and therefore permitted to use the title Chartered Civil Engineer, candidates generally enter into a training agreement with their employer.

The employer, in turn, should be on the ICE Training Index, and provide candidates with a supervising civil engineer.

The SCE will be a professionally qualified person with at least three years' experience beyond becoming chartered themselves.

There are exceptions to this rule but these should to be discussed with a regional liaison officer at the ICE.

A training agreement consists of three to four years' experience logged by the candidate in short quarterly reports. These will need to be approved and signed by an SCE or his/her delegated engineer.

Your SCE will conduct a training review at the end of your agreement. This assesses whether core objectives have been achieved, the completion of quarterly reports and the appropriate amount and quality of continuing professional development. On successful completion of the review, your SCE will sign a training agreement completion certificate.

What is CPD and why is it important for civil engineers?

CPD is important for the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties, throughout an individual's working life.

CPD can be structured via seminars, talks and evening meetings, or unstructured, such as private study and workplace experience. Its aim is the significant expansion of an engineer's knowledge base, and to ensure that the individual is kept abreast of innovations and developments in the profession.

What is the ICE doing to encourage British engineers working overseas long-term to become chartered?

Professional networking and development is encouraged through the formal network of country representatives, local associations and branches in countries outside the UK. Individuals and organisations are sent training material such as educational videos. Continuing professional development is offered for all levels of members in specific subject areas.

What changes can civil engineers expect in future, in terms of professional development?

With the rapid pace of developments relating to the use of electronic media, we can expect web-based technology to be used more and more - for filtering, gathering and exchanging information, not only in professional development.

Civil engineering is constantly widening as a profession, as is the need for civil engineers to possess a broader knowledge of fields such as sustainability and IT.

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