ICE’s plans for improving membership
The ICE has a clear vision for a vibrant membership - to ensure we are the qualifying body for a broad spectrum of activity in the built environment; to continually raise the standard of civil engineers’ knowledge, skills and professionalism; and to ensure there is a sustainable supply of high quality entrants to the profession. During 2014 we have created a stronger focus on these core strands and are beginning to see progress.
Recent NCE letters have highlighted that members are keen to play their part in promoting engineering to the next generation. Last week, the ICE Council was briefed on a number of initiatives currently in place and considered how we can make improvements through our work with technicians and under-19s.
Volunteer members across our regions work hard to promote civil engineering through a range of school activities; however, we need to reach even more young people. Better coordinating existing programmes rather than starting new initiatives will help, but to create a real step change we must work in partnership with others.
Council heard from Paul Jackson, Engineering UK CEO, about the Tomorrows Engineers programme, which has received £1M from Shell. They provide careers materials, developed with the ICE’s support, and organise the Big Bang Fair.
The ICE has a strong presence at the fair, and our regional teams support the Big Bang Near Me fairs across the UK. The next phase for Tomorrow’s Engineers is an employer programme to scale up the engineering profession’s engagement with schools and provide a framework - in particular an interactive map showing which schools the engineering community has engaged with so employers can see what is happening in their area. Local knowledge is fundamental to success, and with our regional structure we are well placed to support this programme. By encouraging civil engineering employers locally our voice is heard, and by using the
Tomorrow’s Engineers tools, volunteers’ can make a greater impact.
We also need to encourage more employers to support professional qualification for their technicians, and in doing so, give them status and progression opportunities. “EngTechNow”, an ICE, IMechE and IET initiative supported by the Gatsby Foundation, is leading this.
And to support it, Tomorrow’s Engineers have produced careers guidance for apprentices and technicians. This has been added to the ICE’s resource packs, so our work in schools reaches all who could enter the profession.
Along with this, a working group has reviewed our under-19s initiatives and a pilot programme is developing consistent messaging for volunteers visiting schools. From March 2015, it will be supported by a new website.
In 2015, inspiring a range of youngsters to pursue engineering is something I will focus on. I will also further streamline the qualification process to make it easier to navigate, accelerate entry at all levels, and extend lifelong learning so professionally qualified members continue to learn.
Finally, I seek to broaden ICE membership - so society benefits from our breadth of knowledge and experience - and will update on this next year.
- Adrian Coy is ICE Vice President for Membership