Having passed the six month point of our ICE 200 programme, it is evident that the efforts of members across the world have been extraordinary in using our bicentenary as a way to raise the public profile of civil engineering.
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In 2017 a survey of members of the public conducted on behalf of the ICE discovered that awareness of what a civil engineer does and the ways in which civil engineering transforms their lives was alarmingly low. The independent research found that 55.1% of adults did not know what a civil engineer did. This rose to 65% among young people. Just 36.5% of people were able to identify a civil engineering project.
With those figures in mind, ICE 200 has been used to inform the general public that civil engineers transform their lives directly in order to encourage the next generation into the profession.
Amazing first six months
The first six months of the campaign have been amazing to watch as passionate, engaged and eloquent members have reached out to the public to help demystify the profession. You, our members, have been integral in getting the message out that civil engineering is a rewarding career that has a direct impact on everyone’s lives and safeguards the future for their families.
Café 200, an initiative that sees members speak directly to local groups outside the profession, has seen members engage with the Women’s Institute, Café Scientifique, University of the Third Age and many more. These events have taken place across the globe, in Hong Kong, Oman, South East Asia, the Netherlands and, of course, in the UK. This has allowed thousands of people to learn from civil engineers about the importance and significance of the profession.
Pitch 200 heats have been running all over the world with members showing offbeat and often ingenious ways of illustrating a civil engineering concept in 200 seconds or less. The final, taking place in November at One Great George Street, is guaranteed to be entertaining and informative.
The Invisible Superheroes concept generated for the Infrastructure Learning Hub (ILH) has been a phenomenal success with the likes of Water Woman (Brittany Harris), Digital Dynamo (Anne Kemp) and Infrastructo (Andy Mitchell) popping up everywhere from Hong Kong to Belfast. For members who would like to visit the exhibition but cannot make it to Westminster there is a 3D walk-through on the ICE website.
We have set the bar high with the way members have reached out to the public in the first six months. If we can continue this incredible effort throughout the year we will surely have helped more people to understand the importance of civil engineering, leaving a perfect legacy for the Institution.
It is hard to capture the sheer volume of activities that have been taking place; the 200 People and Projects, the bicentenary dinner in February and the hosting of BBC’s Question Time have all helped us celebrate this extraordinary year.
- Simon Creer is ICE head of communications