Five civil engineers got a sneak preview of the ICE's Members Guide launched this week. They told ICE News all about it.
A GUIDE for ICE members to squeeze every penny's worth of value out of their subscriptions in five easy steps is launched this week in NCE.
It is hoped that the ICE's A5 sized bid to tell members 'this is what we can do for you throughout your professional life and this is how to find out more', will find its way out of this week's NCE and into the briefcases of civil engineers across the UK.
Details of the type of learned information the ICE holds for its Members; tips to help them along to the next stage of their career; and potential financial paybacks of Membership are included in the five chapters.
Vice-president member services John Bircumshaw, who helped to develop the guide, said: 'We hope to inspire engineers to join the ICE, help them understand what is on offer and encourage them in their future careers.'
Recently chartered Siobhan Williams, from Foster Wheeler Energy in Reading, was impressed. She said: 'My initial impression was: 'Oh no, not another boring publication from the ICE which has very little information relevant to me'. But I found the guide comprehensive and succinct and an excellent source of reference with all the information easy to find.
'I found the overview of the ICE web site particularly useful because it summarises the information available. I didn't know that a House of Commons' reception took place each summer. I did know that the ICE has negotiated discounted rates for its members for a number of London Hotels - but I suspect that the majority do not.'
Graduate member Ben Brookes, of Martin Stockley Associates in Manchester, applauded the Members Guide in principle but was not so impressed with the content.
He said: 'I found it very Londoncentric. There seemed to be some corporate bias towards services that Thomas Telford provides at Great George Street and not enough about the services available in the local associations. Seventy per cent of members live away from the London area and the regional benefits of membership haven't been sold effectively enough.
'I applaud the ICE for going ahead and doing this and I hope it will provide an improved edition next year. It would be good if there was an IT version available. A lot of students find out about the ICE via the web page. It would be the easiest way for them to get hold of the Members Guide.'
As a 'self-confessed cynic', geotechnical director of environmental consultant Stats Shon Williams said that professional development was 'dealing with your own career and just getting on with it' before accepting the challenge to review the guide.
But Williams has since decided to hang on to his Members' Guide. 'I haven't been very involved with the ICE since I took my civils 10 years ago,' he said. 'If I did suddenly have an inkling to get more involved, this guide would be an excellent reference point to do it. I knew vaguely about most of the services already, but the guide sets them out clearly. It might even encourage me to use the ICE web page for the first time. I hadn't appreciated how much help the library could give me.'
Balfour Beatty section manager on the Manchester Outer Ring Road Peter Anderson confessed his review copy was already a well thumbed fixture in his brief case.
'It's very handily sized and full of useful phone numbers. The information on the web site was particularly useful,' he said. 'I've already used the guide to book a committee room at Great George Street. I wasn't aware of how cheap the rates were for members. In the past, I've had to trawl through different documents to get information about ICE services. In this concise document I can do it in one.'
Chairman of Scott Wilson and ICE Fellow Bob McGowan said he thought he knew everything there was to know about the civils until he reviewed the guide for NCE. Nuggets of data which had previously escaped his attention include the ICE supported Professional Initiative to Maintain Occupational Skills (PIMOS) which helps 40-60 year olds in the construction industry.
He says: 'I never knew that the ICE put forward senior Fellows for membership of the Royal Academy of Engineering. I didn't know about the press cuttings library or that the shower and changing room at Great George Street is available for all members to use.
'I don't access the web site because I don't use a computer, but I was very interested to read about the Chambers Page on the ICE web site.' Asked whether his growing knowledge of ICE's electronic services would spur him on to learn about computers, he replied: 'You never know'.