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How association chiefs plan to change face of engineering

The challenge of raising the profile of civil engineering is being met with gusto by new ICE local association chairmen, many of whom took up their posts last week. ICE NEWS

London Association

New member Janet Knight, who is proud to call herself a technician, is determined to foster more co-operation with other professional institutions. She said: 'Greater communication is needed with other institutions. I believe the London Association has a better chance than anybody of doing that. It is hoped that civil engineers' construction industry partners will be present at a London Association talk on whether or not moves to foster better partnering in the industry are working yet. The meeting: 'Are their any winners?' is on 16 November.

Knight also wants to attract the wider public to London Association meetings. She said: 'We need to go out to the public and involve them a lot more. That means using language that is less technical and terms that the general public can understand.'

South Wales

South Wales local association is still hopeful of saving the pan institution Professional Engineering Institution in Wales, which is under threat of closure due to expected withdrawal of ICE funding. New chairman Ian Flower said: 'We believe the South Wales PEI still has a part to play. We think the PEI will be able to advise in matters relating to education, training and public perception. We believe that it's important to have a construction lobby in Wales.'

Flower welcomed plans from the Construction Industry Council to establish a Welsh Group but said: 'It has yet to be established, and it will take some time before it is in a position to influence the new Welsh Assembly.'

Glasgow and West of Scotland

New chairman Dr Gary Pender expects see the new Executive Secretary serving the Scottish local associations, installed by the new year. He said: 'We feel that we serve our members well in terms of meetings and dinners, which are well attended. But we need to be more outward looking. The new secretary should foster better communication with media and schools as well as new Scottish Parliament.'

Pender is promoting a package of events to tie in with work to connect the Forth & Clyde and Smeaton Canal; and work on the Union Canal. The six projects will reconnect Scotland's canal network and open it up for shipping again. Projects include a tunnel under the M8 and a 30 metre boat lift transferring boats from the Union Canal to the Forth and Clyde. Glasgow & West of Scotland have organised lectures and a schools competition to raise awareness of civil engineering on the canal.

East of Scotland

Drawing attention to civil engineering research is a theme of new chairman Dr Fraser Smith. He said: 'The construction industry doesn't put enough money into research.'

Fraser is eager for Scotland's new executive secretary to be appointed. 'There needs to be a continual presence for people outside of the Institution in Scotland to keep in contact with,' he said.

Northern Ireland

A touring photo exhibition illustrating major civil engineering achievements, will be a highlight of John Mulholland's chairmanship. The exhibition will tour Ballymena, Londonderry, Armagh, Enniskillen, Down Patrick, Omargh and Belfast next February and March.

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