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ICE in shape to tackle the big issues

The excitement and activity at NCE 's Careers Event last weekend showed how hard the skill shortage is biting.

There simply are not enough people entering or staying in the profession.

It is a situation that will not change overnight and will need some serious revamping of the entire approach to science and engineering in the UK.

The reassuring fact is that, by securing a place on the Engineering and Technology shadow board, Joe Dwyer has put the ICE in the driving seat for discussions about the future role of the Engineering Council.

I believe that creating the right leadership from this new body will be crucial to shaping a new, more attractive engineering profession for the future - once they sort out the name, of course.

From the ICE's point of view, conclusion of the single membership debate has given it a massive boost in terms of the clout that it can bring to bear on the process. Council should be congratulated for making this decision - getting there has not been easy and, like all democratic process, has required very strong leadership and direction to guide the Council members in their decision making.

Personally I believe that the questions raised by, among others, past president Roger Sainsbury about the validity of the process are a red herring. By that I certainly do not mean that the points that he raises are incorrect, nor does Roger Sainsbury make things up.

He has doubts about the process and it is possible that he could find a court of law to uphold his claims that the ICE has acted unlawfully and without integrity while making these constitutional changes.

But would anyone thank him for doing so? As the Banbury Report said last year, the ICE must 'modernise or die', and adopt the 'inclusive' rather than 'exclusive' attitude towards membership.

Fifty members of Council have thrashed this issue out for over a year. All the debate in the world would not alter the fact that the ICE had to make these changes to survive.

Rather than feeling suspicious of or let down by the process, we should feel proud that we are members of an organisation that cares so much about its future membership. It is futile to continue to debate whether or not the means justify the end.

And before anyone asks, this is not lazy journalism and this is not a whitewash. This is a desire to serve the majority of NCE 's readership - we must move on and deal with the issues that will shape the industry's future.

NCE is busy reporting on the issues affecting the working lives of civil engineering professionals. It is publishing information that helps you to do business better, organising careers events to help the industry get the staff it needs, publishing schools magazines to boost numbers coming into the industry and working hard to take the civil engineering message to the wider infrastructure community.

And when Joe Dwyer sits with his fellow Engineering Council shadow board members I want him to tackle these important issues rather than continuing the debate about the structure of the profession.

Rest assured that as usual, NCE will stick to the important and relevant issues and keep you informed on progress.

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