How ICE Wales will ensure that infrastructure and civil engineers continue to be well represented within the new Welsh Government.
Since ICE Wales Cymru was established in 2000 we have developed close links with the Welsh Government, known as the Welsh Assembly Government before the May elections.
Now that the new administration is in place in the new Welsh Government and the ministerial portfolios determined, it has been a priority to ensure that the Institution of Civil Engineers’ voice continues to be heard in the highest corridors of power at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
Most infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government, however the Westminster administration is still responsible for several areas including rail and energy.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with the Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan and minister David Jones at Tŷ Gwydir in Whitehall.
Rhodri‑Gwyn Jones, director CECA Wales, and I used this opportunity to bring to their attention several issues relating to the economy of Wales.
We stressed that there is a clear link between the condition of the infrastructure and the well being of the economy of Wales. While I recognise that these are difficult financial times, continued investment must be made to secure continued growth.
Equally important is recognition of the vital contribution made by civil engineering and, indeed, by civil engineers both to society and to the economy.
Such a meeting could not have gone without some mention of the impact of the recession on the construction sector and the need for government and industry to plan effectively for the future. Particular concern was raised about the impact on the skills base and the effect on younger engineers.
Wales has an ambitious programme of infrastructure work to deliver and we need a highly skilled workforce to achieve it.
This was the first meeting of many I hope in our programme of public engagement.
I look forward to meeting and working with the new Welsh ministers dealing with devolved infrastructure issues which are vital to the health of our Welsh nation.
Through a dedicated programme of public engagement we will continue to fulfil our role as “the voice of infrastructure in Wales”, ensuring the issues that are so important to our industry, and society at large, are understood and considered in the most important decision-making processes.
- Keith Jones is director, ICE Wales Cymru