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Graduate Awards finalists set out their views

Finalists in this year’s NCE Graduate Awards last week had the opportunity to impress a panel of leading industry judges, reports David Hayward

Passionate, articulate, dedicated and excellent ambassadors for the profession.

This was the collective description of six young civil engineering graduates who, a week ago, faced gruelling interviews before a panel of 20 NCE Graduate Award judges.

As finalists in this increasingly prestigious annual award scheme, the five men and one woman had beaten off competition from a record 118 worldwide entries to be rewarded with half an hour in front of the panel of senior engineers. The most inspirational of the six will be chosen as overall NCE Graduate of the Year and named at an awards lunch next month.

The judges were all directors of the Award’s sponsoring companies made up of leading clients, consultants and contractors. Among them was ICE president Geoff French who will invite the new winner to join current award holder, Mott MacDonald’s Jamie Radford, as a presidential apprentice helping him promote engineering to young people.

Also in this year’s panel were the leaders of construction’s two most exciting future projects - the HS2 high speed rail line and Thames Water’s Tideway Tunnel supersewer which, between them, will employ over 1000 graduate engineers.

The judges heard from finalists who had conceived and run an aid project to provide electricity to remote African villages; who were undertaking ground breaking research into the use of BIM and had a burning desire to be a future ICE president.

“To hear of their achievements so far, and of the opportunities they are grasping as just 23 year old engineers, is both inspirational and humbling,” said chairman of judges Antony Oliver.

All six finalists will be rewarded with certificates and a share in this years’ £4000 prize pot.

The finalists

Ramin Akhyani, Amey and Birmingham University; Tom Bartley, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Bristol University; Neill Brauders, Mott MacDonald and University College, Dublin; Joe Smith, Arup and Bristol University; Philip Vautier, Atkins and Imperial College, London; Amy Wright, Sir Robert McAlpine and Nottingham University


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