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Viewpoint | Drawing back the curtain

When we first designed the ICE 200 programme, we knew that there would be no better way to inspire the public than to have our members tell their own stories.

Wendy blundell crop

Wendy blundell crop

Wendy Blundell

With ICE 200 now well and truly under way, the level of enthusiasm and commitment from members has been overwhelming.

As our Invisible Superheroes exhibition shows, civil engineers are at work every day, shaping the world around us and solving some of the key problems our society faces.

Members from across the UK and around the world are now sharing that knowledge and experience directly with the public and helping to encourage the next generation into the profession.

Passion and commitment

The Café 200 programme, which allows passionate and committed engineers to engage with community groups, is a great way to put a human face on a profession which is too often seen as simply a hard hat and a high-visibility jacket.

Our Institution was founded in a London coffee house in 1818, when such coffee houses were hotbeds for the exchange of new ideas.  With this activity, we have gone back to our roots to exchange new and interesting ideas with people throughout the country. Encouragingly, we’ve already had fully-subscribed events and the schedule will only become busier as the year goes on.

Members are also rising to the challenge in our Pitch 200 competition, with four of the regional heats taking place this month.

With only 200 seconds to explain a civil engineering project or concept to a general audience, the competitors will be showing off their creativity and ingenuity. This is a unique chance to demystify civil engineering for the wider public, explaining the science behind it in a fun and engaging way.

People and projects

Further pulling back the curtain on civil engineering, members have helped us to compile the 200 People and Projects which illustrate the real life impact of their work.

Each in-depth case study not only showcases the engineering work involved but outlines the tangible benefits, such as boosting the local economy and improving quality of life for communities.

By incorporating these into the What is Civil Engineering? campaign, the dedicated careers information and guidance portal on the ICE website, we’ll be using these projects beyond 2018 to showcase the range of creative, rewarding and fun career paths available and inspire the next generation to follow in our members’ footsteps.

Please look out for these projects on the ICE social media channels over the course of the year and share and retweet so that as many people as possible can learn about these amazing examples of civil engineering.

ICE 200 is off to a great start and that has only been possible thanks to our members. But with many more months to go, this is only the beginning.

Check with your ICE regional team to find out what is happening in your area and lend your support. We hope members will continue to get involved over the course of the year, reminding the public of the important work they do and the difference it makes.

Only with your continued passion and enthusiasm can we make ICE 200 a success.

Wendy Blundell is ICE director of UK regions

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