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At the top of their game: ICE President's Apprentices

Championing the case for graduates. This will be a prime aim of the top three current NCE Graduate Award winners, all chosen personally to be President’s Apprentices this November by incoming ICE president Peter Hansford.

“We are a crucial, irreplaceable and cost effective part of the construction team,” claims graduate award joint runner up Chris Lloyd. “We work the cheapest, longest hours, yet we can often be the most creative and innovative thinkers, totally comfortable with the latest computer technology.”

Describing graduates as essential shop floor workers, enthusiastically tackling any number-crunching task demanded of them, Lloyd, a 24 year old Halcrow bridge engineer, suggests: “In the current climate of employment cutbacks it may be more sensible to lose two or three more senior engineers and save 10 graduate jobs.”

Such fresh, open analysis was just one of the plethora of qualities noticed by ICE senior vice president, and Nichols Group executive director, Hansford as he watched graduate award prizes being handed out last December to Lloyd, fellow runner-up Owen Jones from Laing O’Rourke and overall winner, Arup’s James O’Donnell.

“The awards have become an excellent and industry acknowledged way to identify and reward our profession’s brightest young engineers,” says Hansford.

In deciding to halve to six the next group of apprentices, compared to current president Professor Paul Jowitt’s dozen-strong team, Hansford wants to concentrate on personal mentoring and individual shadowing by the graduates of daily presidential duties.

“We can show them the inner workings of the ICE and its president’s role; while I hope to also understand better what drives young engineers at this stage in their careers.”

Peter Hansford

“I hope to get to know well my smaller group and, through several one to one mentoring sessions, I believe that both the graduates and I can learn from each other,” he says. “We can show them the inner workings of the ICE and its president’s role; while I hope to also understand better what drives young engineers at this stage in their careers.”

The competition to elect the other three apprentices closed at the end of June and they are James Bulleid, Costain; Urszula Kanturska, Arup, and Constance Chakanyuka from the Environment Agency (ICE News last week).

All three of the graduate award winners thought it vital that the ICE should reach out to its graduate members, encouraging them to become more active in Institution affairs – Great George Street coffee mornings, graduate inspired lectures and frequent informal gatherings, led the ideas suggested.

Owen Jones looks to the ICE to become an even more powerful voice of the profession, and he backs the current controversial move by senior ICE officers into what some engineers perceive as party politics.

“The ICE should be the vehicle that raises issues with government and should not shy away from politics” he says.

Overall winner James O’Donnell emphasised the privilege and responsibility felt by all three and stressed they could not fail to become better informed engin eers, more confident public speakers and gain a valuable understanding of the ICE.

Winners of this year’s graduate awards, now inviting entries, may also be invited to become president’s apprentices; though Scott Wilson director Richard Coackley, who will be the ICE president in November next year, stressed that no final decision had yet been made.

Coackley has been personally involved in the Graduate Awards for nearly a decade as both judge and company sponsor with several previous employers.

“These are highly respected awards and I will certainly do something with the winners when I take office” he says.

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