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Viewpoint: Partnerships make sense

Achieve more for less money and time as partners bring different skills, says ICE London Regional Director Miranda Housden

London is a dynamic and diverse region. The best and brightest engineering minds will often have studied, spent time or settled in the city, thanks to the host of major projects currently under way and the concentration of leading universities in the capital. London is also a hub for many other industries, from other built environment professions to finance, government, media, culture and the arts. These industries are all jostling for attention, for funding and for public support. Working in isolation can often result in duplication of efforts and does not offer the best value for money either.

“Working in isolation can often result in duplication of efforts and does not offer the best value for money either.”

The concentration of diverse industries in London presents opportunities for innovative partnerships, such as the one we have formed with BBC21cc, the BBC’s digital learning centre. This initiative will involve ICE members mentoring construction, engineering and media diploma students while they work together on creative problem-solving projects.

We have worked for many years now with our sister engineering institutions to deliver our schools outreach programme.

Our next Engineering Your Future event on the 9 October will reach sixth form students across London, and is only possible due to collaboration with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

We also work closely with the London region of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers through our Agenda for Climate Change programme of debates which engage with City Hall three times a year on this important topic.

Together, both institutions represent 13,000 London-based engineers − we have greater impact on London’s government when we speak with one voice.

“Partners bring different skills, maximise reach and impact and can often increase the credibility of the work. Engineers are often modest about their achievements.”

We will also reach a wider audience through our new relationship with The Building Centre − widely recognised as a vibrant venue and meeting place particularly within the architecture and construction sectors − where we will hold a six-week exhibition of the winning projects.

Our members are engaging also with the Architecture Foundation, New London Architecture and RIBA London to ensure that civil engineers are involved in the London Festival of Architecture 2010, a biennial programme of high profile events we have not previously participated in.

We are stepping up our engagement with London’s business community, in particular with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is working with ICE London on joint research into the contribution of civil engineering to London and the UK’s economy.

Strategic partnerships allow organisations to achieve more for less money and time. Partners bring different skills, maximise reach and impact and can often increase the credibility of the work. Engineers are often modest about their achievements.

This makes it even more necessary to work in partnership − with both our sister institutions as well as with some more unexpected groups − to ensure that government, businesses and the public are aware of their contribution.

  • Miranda Housden is Regional Director of ICE London

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