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ICE London Regional Focus: An introduction

NCE’s special report on ICE London region’s construction market with a celebration of the 2010 ICE London awards

Anusha Shah

Anusha Shah

Chair of ICE London and technical director at Jacobs.

The next few pages celebrate civil engineering innovation in London and reflect on the often sobering realities that those working in industry have faced over the last year.

Just a glance at the winners of this year’s ICE London Civil Engineering Awards reveals that London’s engineers have a lot to be proud of. Their skills and professionalism enhance sustainability, quality of life and prosperity in the capital against a backdrop of climate change pressures and population growth.

Raising the profile of the profession and its contribution to London’s continued prosperity is a key aim of ICE London. We engage with local schools, London’s government and the Mayor’s office, and work closely with business groups such as the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, with whom we recently launched a joint report on engineers’ contribution to London’s economy.

My experience over a challenging 12 months has made me realise how urgent it is for us to change public perceptions of civil engineering and to elevate our status.

We need to think creatively and collaborate with other bodies to influence political change.We must also continue to celebrate innovation in the industry, enthuse young people to join our profession and encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.

Our joint schools project with the BBC, Crossrail and London Transport Museum, and our involvement in the London Festival of Architecture between 19 June and 4 July) do just that.

Oliver Broadbent

Oliver Broadbent

Chair ICE London Graduates & Students and associate at educational company Think Up.

Last week I was lucky enough to accompany ICE President Paul Jowitt on his tour of London. The day reaffirmed my belief that London is a great place to be a young engineer.

We toured the Olympic Park at which construction work is about to peak, and later in the day visited a project linked to Crossrail, the next massive infrastructure project on our horizon.

These are exciting times for London’s graduate and student engineers, whose numbers make up over half of the region’s membership. As engineers, our training equips us with a great range of skills, making us eminently adaptable.

The ICE London’s Graduates and Students Committee works to help its members make the most of the opportunities that this city gives them, and in the context of an economic downturn, to equip them with the skills that they will need to adapt.

My own story is one of adaptation. This year I have moved on from being involved in the design of buildings to designing educational programmes that inspire children and teenagers to take up a career in construction - the engineer’s technical and communication skills put to a different use.

It is little surprise then that I was thrilled to have the chance to meet a group of children who had taken part in Transitions, our schools collaboration project. After showing off his introductory piece to camera, one kid said to me: “This has been the best day of my life.” As we struggle out of economic recession, what better sign of green shoots can there be?

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