The ICE and the China International Contractors Association (Chinca) have signed an employee exchange agreement under which Chinese and UK companies will swap staff to help them develop new skills and share insight into infrastructure development.
The agreement was signed at a business event in China last week, witnessed by UK Treasury commercial secretary Lord O’Neill and UK chancellor George Osborne.
It followed a raft of government announcements aimed at increasing China/UK collaboration on infrastructure. This included a £2bn government guarantee to underwrite Chinese investment in Hinkley power station, and an agreement to co-fund a £50M cutting-edge nuclear research centre to be based in the UK.
Engineering, management and development consultant Mott MacDonald will be the first UK company to participate in the ICE-Chinca exchange scheme. An employee from China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) will join its Manchester office next month for a three month placement. Mott MacDonald plans to place other Chinese employees in its UK offices and is exploring opportunities for Mott MacDonald staff to work in China.
“China’s interest in UK infrastructure reflects the strength of the UK market,” said ICE director general, Nick Baveystock. “China also has a huge infrastructure programme and high demand for engineering expertise, which UK engineers are keen to support. As such the ICE and Chinca have joined forces to develop a scheme that will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and skills between UK and Chinese companies, and help to pave the way for wider collaboration between the two countries.”
Chinca vice chairman Madam Wang added: “The economic and trade cooperation between China and Britain has been continuously enhanced over recent years, for which the cooperation in infrastructure and energy sector plays important role. China has established a series of productively cooperative mechanisms with relevant British institutions to promote mutual industry corporation.
“This employee exchange scheme by Chinca and the ICE is aiming to set up a platform for companies of both sides to develop better mutual understanding. We hope the companies can achieve all-round collaboration in technology, management and commerce sectors based on this scheme, and develop the infrastructure investment and construction opportunities together in both countries and other third country markets.”
Mott MacDonald group chairman Keith Howells said: “We are very pleased to be the hosts of the first exchange with CRRC. Continued collaboration with Chinese companies both in China and abroad is a key part of our strategy. The ICE-Chinca scheme will build on our existing relationships, enabling further cooperation, and
will provide wider benefits to Mott MacDonald and our Chinese partners.”