While the headlines are dominated by political uncertainty, the civil engineering profession is getting on and delivering.
There has been tremendous progress in ensuring a healthy pipeline of new entrants and qualified technicians and engineers.
In the last 12 months the ICE Professional Skills Review and the In Plain Sight report were launched, while Professional Review applications reached record levels and the profession has worked tirelessly to progress the apprenticeship agenda. As 2019 gets underway, capacity and skills must stay at the top of our agenda.
In my day to day work, but also as a judge for the New Civil Engineer Graduate & Apprentice of the Year Awards (New Civil Engineer, last month) I never fail to be impressed by the standard of new entrants. In apprentices and graduates, we often see the “disrupters”, driving the digital revolution within their own organisations. They serve as a powerful reminder that the future is in very safe hands.
Civil engineering apprenticeship provision is expanding rapidly, providing a pathway to ICE professional qualification and rewarding careers.
Employers, colleges, universities and my ICE colleagues have been working relentlessly to ensure that the opportunities and standards presented by the new Apprenticeship Levy are realised. Our membership teams have been supporting those developing and entering apprenticeship programmes, and demand continues to grow.
The evolution of the apprenticeship agenda is just one strand in our profession’s fine history of mentorship. Today, the need for additional capacity and effective mentoring has never been greater. A recent ICE membership survey highlighted the fact that effective mentoring is one of the key enablers in progression towards professional qualification. Whether as a supervising civil engineer, delegated engineer, or mentor under an approved ICE programme, or through informal mentoring, we need experienced professionals to continue passing knowledge to the next generation.
Experienced professionals should never underestimate how much wisdom and knowledge they can offer. Mentors routinely report how rewarding they find working with young professionals, and let us not forget the CPD value to all involved. Additionally, the rise of “reverse-mentoring” is helping experienced professionals learn new skills and challenge accepted thinking.
Those undertaking initial professional development, whether via an apprenticeship, ICE training scheme, or experience route, will require and benefit from mentoring. Irrespective of the mechanism, the skills and benefits remain the same. Our profession has a proud 200-year history of developing new talent, and the need to secure the pipeline of future skills is as great now as it ever has been. I wish all mentors, and mentees every success in 2019.
- Steve Feeley is ICE membership recruitment director