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Graduate Awards 2013: it's time to shine

Meeting the Construction Minister, sitting on government committees, working with an ICE President and sharing a £4,000 prize pot are all up for grabs as David Hayward highlights the launch of NCE’s 2013 Graduate Awards.

Enthusiastic is how all you civils graduates should be feeling this summer.

Government is promising an exciting, and allegedly politics–proof, sustained boost in infrastructure spend. Major construction companies are responding by increasing graduate recruitment at their fastest rate for five years.

And pretty soon it should be sellers’ market again with graduate engineers - once desperate for any job - treated to a wide range of career-enhancing employment opportunities.

To top such optimism, NCE this week launches its annual Graduate Awards offering our brightest young engineers a package of prizes, praise and x–factor opportunities to work with the ICE President, interview the Construction Minister and write an NCE opinion column.

Grad awards 2013 sponsors panel

To prove we mean it; just look at this year’s A-list of construction leaders keen to back us with sponsorship, encouragement and - most valuable of all - the time of a senior board director to judge all entrants and chose a gaggle of winners.

An amazing 18 of our industry’s top clients, consultants and contractors are enthusiastically determined to make this year’s awards the most successful and exciting yet.  

Alongside our faithful longstanding supporters - a roll call of construction’s most forward thinking and respected companies - we are backed this year by our sectors’ two most ambitious future projects. Likely to help safeguard construction’s sustained growth for over a decade are the £43bn High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project and London’s £4bn Thames Tideway Tunnel.

HS2 logo

HS2 – the most adventurous investment in our railways since the Victorians – will offer graduates varied and continuous ‘lifetime’ career opportunities for 20 years plus from its planned construction start in 2017. Designing and building the 530km rail route from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, will demand a unique range of civil engineering skills from tunnels and stations to permanent way and geotechnics.

At peak around 2023, the vast majority of the project’s 1,250 engineers will be graduate or chartered civil engineers and HS2 has already embarked on a major forecasting study to analyse who it needs, when and where.

“It is vital to support these important awards as graduates are construction’s future,”says HS2 chairman Douglas Oakervee. “With over 50 years in construction, I have never known before HS2 such a unique scheme offering graduates a complete career in one sector encompassing a wide range of skill sets.”

Thames Tideway logo

Joining Oakervee on our Graduate Awards judging panel will be the boss of the second career-enticing project; fellow new sponsor Thames Tideway Tunnel. This six year Thames clean-up scheme centres on a 25km interceptor sewer tunnel to run beneath east and central London.  At peak construction in 2018 the project will employ over 2,500 engineers including at least 200 civils graduates.

“Enthusiastic, energetic and offering fresh new ideas,” is how project head Phil Stride sums up the assets of the graduates he will be seeking. “They will be the essential backbone of our delivery teams and absolutely fundamental to the project’s success.”

 So if you want the bosses of these mammoth projects, plus board directors from all our top sponsors to applaud a summary of YOUR career so far, plus - for the six lucky finalists  - enjoy personal half hour chats; enter this free, potentially life-changing competition NOW.

 To qualify you must have graduated in 2012 from a first or post-graduate civil engineering -or related - degree course. See the instructions for entry (centre column, above) for full details and click here to be directed to the online entry form.

Tell us your academic and engineering achievements during uni, work, gap year and in your spare time. Convince us of your enthusiasm and pride at being a civil engineer. And let your fresh ideas, and blue-sky thinking, take centre stage in a short essay on a topical construction theme.

You do not have to be an academic whiz kid. We are looking for all round engineering qualities and enthusiasm.

You also do not need your employer’s permission to enter - though companies will undoubtedly offer help and advice.

You can repeatedly revisit your entry form before submitting it. But please do not wait until the 17 September deadline: Enter NOW while it’s top of your  ‘good things to do’ list.  

The top six entrants will come face to face with all our judges at the ICE on 8 November and that same group of finalists will return to the ICE for the 4 December star-studded Awards Lunch where all will receive an embarrassing basket of praise, plus a share in our £4,000 prize pot.

Our Graduate superstar will get £1,500 plus an impressive package of door-opening opportunities with the ICE and government committees; let alone much deserved recognition from their own employer. Runners’ up will be £350 the richer and highly commendeds £350.

High up our overall winner’s rewards will be the opportunity to work under the wing of incoming ICE President Geoff French. As a long term enthusiast and judge for our awards, French has already asked the reigning Graduate of the Year, Mott MacDonald’s Jamie Radford, to work alongside his team of President’s apprentices from this November, offering guidance on how today’s social media can help promote the ICE message to our upcoming generation of young engineers.

“The NCE Graduate Awards have always highlighted enthusiastic and passionate engineers,” says French. “I want to tap in on the expertise of these talented young ambassadors in support of my themes as ICE President.”

So stardom awaits at every door in this win-win free competition. But remember; you have to be in it to win it.

Enter now to prove to us you are the best: Or regret it for years.


Graduate Awards 2013 - entry banner

The awards are open to anyone who graduated in 2012 with a civil engineering -or related - degree. Click here to be redirected to the online entry form. For further information, see the instructions for entry (centre column) or contact David Hayward, Graduate Awards Secretary on 01325 461149. email:

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