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Ringing in the changes

Civils 2004 RedR Challenge

Prepare for a humanitarian disaster.

At Civils 2004 engineers will be able to find out what it is like battling to provide aid to the needy. Welcome to the RedR Challenge 2004.

The RedR Challenge will see 200 engineers applying brains and brawn in a simulated disaster zone to score points and be crowned 2004 champions. Problem solving and people skills will be essential to survive the quickfire teamwork challenges that make up the event.

But this year, engineers will be able to bring in ringers to complement their team.

'Friends, relatives and colleagues will all be welcome to attend, ' says RedR senior fundraising and marketing manager Marina Jones.

Teams must be careful to find the right blend. Could too many architects lead to very pretty structures - that do not actually stand up? Might too many engineers produce a functional and efficient project too late? Interpersonal skills may be the strong suit of project managers, but your hands-on, DIY mad neighbour could be the key ingredient to complete your team.

Fundraising abilities and reliability are also crucial when considering your team make-up.

Too many prima donnas and your team may resemble Chelsea; all promise but no cohesion. But with a team that works together well, has experience and a strong team bond, then you too could be Manchester United - when the chips are down always seeming to come out on top.

But this is not the main focus of the day. 'The day is all about fundraising, ' explains Jones. Each four-man team must pay a £100 entrance fee with the focus firmly on raising funds before the day. Each team is tasked with raising £1,000, with prizes available for all who reach this benchmark.

Last year, teams completed charity runs, had inter-office competitions and generally hassled their bosses for cash.

This time round, competitors are expected to undertake a range of whacky money-spinning pursuits to break the record £40,000 raised at Civils 2002.

The anticipated 50 teams will be split into morning and afternoon sessions, with all the action based in the car park adjoining Hall 17 at Birmingham's NEC. The event will take place on 28 April with valuable continued professional development points available for all who take part.

For those who enjoy the day and are keen to find out more, there will be a learning-based challenge on the weekend of 10/11 July. Here, the focus will be on a realistic replication of a humanitarian disaster.

Fundraising will be less relevant as a true insight into what RedR engineers really do comes to the fore.

Many of the competitors who accepted the challenge last year have been champing at the bit to join the RedR register and one day take their skills into real life situations. To give some idea of what would be in store for volunteers, RedR members are aiding reconstruction in Iraq and working in places such as Iran, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

First step for those interested has been to take part in the many training courses that run throughout the year, details of which can be found on RedR's website. Competition for assignment is tough and only the best will be able to take part, but if you want to make a difference to people who really need your help, then taking part in the RedR Challenge is a great way to start and find out more.

INFOPLUS For details on how to take part in this year's RedR Challenge, contact Julie Kingsland at julie@redr. org www. redr. org

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