Companies will always look at ways to tighten their belts in the face of financial uncertainty and training spend can often be the first casualty. History, however, proves that those companies that continue to invest in training and development often come out of difficult times stronger and more able to capitalise greater growth prospects.
Happily at present, a very positive attitude towards training and development continues in engineering. The industry is positioning itself to implement a number of major changes – including the introduction of structural Eurocodes and the need to meet tougher sustainability standards.
The attitude towards training has evolved and training now forms a key component of recruitment and retention strategies, and is seen as adding competitive advantage.
In the UK, development of national education and training policies and strategies over the past 15 years has confirmed that competence means not just the acquisition of knowledge, but the effective application of this knowledge in the workplace.
It is absolutely vital that civil engineers regularly review their competence, plan their continuing professional development and undertake, record and evaluate appropriate development activities.
More guidance can be found by downloading ICE 3006 Continuing Professional Development
Sharpen your edge with a short course
Short courses are a valuable tool for those looking to adapt to industry changes and upgrade their skills. The ICE is updating its course offerings to reflect today's career development needs.
Some of the issues facing the industry include deadlines for the introduction of the Eurocodes, mounting pressure to deliver and exceed standards for sustainable development and a growth in demand for professional qualifications across the wider engineering team.
The engineering and construction sector is certainly never static and effective training should support businesses and individuals in their efforts to prepare for any transition.
The industry is currently preparing for the introduction of Eurocodes, and there is strong demand for training to ensure a smooth transition. British Standards, such as BS5950 for structural steel use in building, are due for withdrawal by March 2010 and many employers are setting up implementation steering groups and Eurocodes "champions" to drive preparations forward.
Thomas Telford Training's focus has been on establishing gateway training programmes - working with employers to develop courses that provide the groundings in basic codes before they move on to the materials codes most relevant to their work.
Specialist training follows on from this, with courses such as the three-day Design of Bridges to Eurocodes and Structural Fire Design to Eurocodes, which enables engineers to accommodate fire design principles into routine structural design and analysis.
A variety of moral, financial and legislative pressures are driving a shift towards sustainable development and it is increasingly becoming a key requirement across the industry.
Thomas Telford Training recently launched a suite of four sustainable development courses aimed at all members of the project team, from clients, designers, contractors and operators to local and county authority staff responsibile for ensuring best practice compliance.
Courses are focused on the concept of sustainability in practice, and include Code for Sustainable Homes, Construction Waste and Waste Management, Environmental Impact Assessments and Sustainable Development - Design, Construction and Maintenance.
A new course will be launched in November called Renewable Energy, which will cover commercially available renewable energy options within a context of scale, cost, performance and return on investment. It considers the current and future legislative framework and the opportunities and incentives for implementation. A training course for those looking to sit the ICE Technician Professional Review also launches this autumn. This will helps candidates to understand the ICE framework of professional qualifications and enables them to plan for their professional review.
SHORT COURSES Q&A
There's a plethora of short courses out there for you to take.
We asked some of the trainers to pick a selection.
1. IOSH Managing Safely
Who should attend: Everyone from site managers to contract managers
Why: Programme content is designed to be tailored to meet individual organisation requirements and will train you in safety management, reactive monitoring, risk assessment and risk control, active monitoring, review and audit, health and safety legislation and general hazards. An IOSH Managing Safely certificate is awarded to all those who attend the course and successfully complete written and practical assessments.
Duration: four to five days
2. Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) Training Courses Đ Levels 1, 2 and 3
Organiser: Mark Wright Training
Who should attend: For geotechnical engineers who want to get hands on.
Why: Achieve IRATA qualification, which is recognised worldwide. Level 1 introduces students to a lot of the techniques and manoeuvres Đ not just abseiling, but also how to move sideways and climb back up, as well as crucial safety methods. Once you have passed the assessment at the end you must notch up a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience over a minimum of 12 months to continue to level 2.
Duration: Five days per course
3. Concrete Structures, Theory and Design to EC2
Organiser: Symmons Madge Associates
Who should attend: Engineers who are new to, or wish to refresh knowledge of, basic reinforced concrete design. The course may also be of value to more experienced staff wishing to gain some knowledge of the new European code for the design of concrete building structures.
Why: The course introduces the principles and theories underlying limit state design philosophy applying to reinforced concrete structures. The course deals, in particular, with the requirements of Eurocode 2 and associated design models as well as providing some comparisons with British Standard BS8110. This includes ultimate and serviceability limit states for beams, columns, slabs and simple foundations.
Duration: Two days
4. Sustainable Practices for Soil and Waste Stabilisation
Organiser: Symmons Madge Associates
Who should attend: Graduates and technicians involved in construction and maintenance of roads, parks, buildings and other structural foundations, experienced staff in highway, building and other civil and structural foundation design and construction and inspectors and clerks of works.
Why: The course covers sustainable practices and approaches to the design of strengthening of soil and/or marginal materials that may be different from traditional materials. It aims to give an understanding of the mechanisms of strength gain in various stabilised systems, for construction and maintenance requirements.
Duration: One day
5. ICE Graduate Development Programme
Organiser: Thomas Telford Training
Who should attend: Civil, structural and building engineers in the early stages of professional development. Project managers, quantity surveyors and construction professionals needing a broad introduction to the commercial, contractual and management approaches of the civil engineering industry.
Why: The course enables graduates to develop industry applicable skills and knowledge and make real progress towards the initial professional development requirements of the ICE Development Objectives. It includes an introduction to law and the basis of contracts, standard forms of contractual relationship, conditions of contract; the tender process, programme requirements, a construction contract from tender through programme extension, claims and certification to payment and modern approaches to construction management.
Duration: Three days