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ICE gets tough on grad member fees

Long standing Graduate Members of the ICE could soon be asked to pay a full member subscription under proposals now being discussed by ICE Council.

In a bid to bolster subscription revenues and to encourage more graduate members to put themselves forward for professional review and full membership, Council this week agreed to look more closely at the implications of “grasping this nettle”.

According to a paper presented to Council by vice president William Kemp, some £300,000 would be added to the ICE subscription coffers should long-standing graduate members be charged the same annual membership fee as full members.

“We should grasp this nettle,” past president Paul Jowitt urged Council, adding that more work should also continue to encourage long standing full members to upgrade to Fellow.

“This is too big an issue to avoid”

Richard Fish, ICE Council member

The paper accepts that “there are risks and issues” associated with any increase in long-term-graduate subscriptions and highlighted that should one third of the graduate membership leave as a result there would be no net gain in subscription.

“Applying a time-served formula for determining any increase may contravene age discrimination law,” it adds.
The proposal was made during discussion by Council over setting the rate of subscriptions for 2012.

While Council agreed that membership would not be balloted on subscriptions this year − confirming that the rise would be less than 10% −it accepted that to meet the ICE’s core running costs, greater subscription revenues had to be generated.

The level of subscription increases across the member grade will be discussed in detail at the next meeting in May but, following this week’s discussion, is likely to be set at a level below the rate of inflation.
However, Kemp’s paper points out that some 3,600 graduate members have retained the status for more than 12 years without seeking full membership.

“This is too big an issue to avoid,” said Council member Richard Fish. “The ICE should take a proactive role.”

“Work is being done to minimise membership loss but graduate members are currently paying significantly less than full members”

William Kemp, ICE vice president

Council heard that while effort continued to go in around the regions to encourage graduate members to upgrade to full membership, many continued to enjoy the benefits and status of membership at cut price. The 2011 full member subscription rate for the UK is £257 compared to just £171 for graduate members.

Kemp explained that the while overall membership numbers were expected to remain relatively static, analysis currently predicts a fall in subscription revenue of around £92,000 in the UK largely due to the increased numbers of retired members and those seeking concessions.

“A 2.5% increase in subscription was assumed in the budget (set last year) but because of dropping (full) membership this doesn’t deliver an increase in revenues,” explained Kemp.

“Work is being done to minimise membership loss but graduate members are currently paying significantly less than full members.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Michael Paul

    Although I am "only" a long-standing Technician member, I must take issue with the tone of this article, which I found pretty arrogant. It implies that upgrading to full membership is the easiest thing in the world, and that those who don't are only seekung to avoid paying the extra subscription. Has anyone actually thought to ask the graduate engineers involved why they haven't achieved full membership. Could it be that many, particularly in the age group 30-40 are also involved in supporting a family and don't have the time or the resources to make the step of becoming chartered? Not all firms are supportive in this respect, and to devote "free" time (often against a backgound of ever longer working hours) to this is often difficult. For those graduate members who, despite all other demands on their time, take an active part in ICE life the statement "continue to enjoy the benefits and status(?????) of membership at cut price" must seem a real slap in the face! I thought that the ICE was these days trying to enter into more dialogue with its members, but the language in this article certainly doesn't back that up. I hope that Council doesn't resort to bullying some of the membership just because it is short of cash!
    Michael Paul, Stuttgart, Germany

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  • I am a long standing graduate member - since 1987. I went through a 3 year training scheme with a specialist company and many of my conteporaries failed to pass the review because "you havent been on site". I changed jobs to a more main stream employer to gain different experience and like Michael Paul never found the time or the support to sit the review. After so many annual appraisals with "sit CPR" as a target I asked my employer what value it had to him or to me - he could not give me a positive answer so I refused to have as an annual target. Not being chartered has not hindered me and I know many senior managers in most of the major consultants who are not chartered - ability, experience, drive and a commitment to the business are all far more important that being chartered. ICE subscription levels are all far lower than most professional bodies - which is probably a reflection of the relatively poor pay available to the members. What value is membership? Well at £260 per year less than a quarter of my golf club and probably less than half that of the average city centre gym. This proposal by council is just not worth getting worked up about - pay the extra and continue to receive NCE and attend the useful events organised by the regional areas and specialist groups - these are still "free".
    James Wark - Stewarton

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